Morning Jeff: State budget discussions by the Leaders with Gov. Rauner yield no progress-- no joy in mudville, Mighty Casey has almost struck out

The state legislative leaders- Senate President Cullerton, Speaker Madigan, Senate Republican Leader Radogno and House Republican Leader Durkin met with the Governor yesterday in Springfield and people who want to believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny will say, “Gee, isn’t this great– the Leaders and the Governor are talking again.”

And, Speaker Madigan appointed people to attend, on his behalf, meetings discussing Rauner’s so called non-budget, i.e., Turnaround Agenda reforms, e.g., state employee pension reform,  a local government property tax freeze, an option for local municipalities to curtail the scope of collective bargaining with their public sector unions, term limits for state legislators, state leaders and state wide offices;  workers’ comp. reform and limitations on prevailing wage requirements and project labor agreements, which impose supra-competitive operating costs on local taxing districts, e.g., school boards, park boards, library boards and village trustees/municipal governments.  [Watch Republican House Leader Durkin debate and discuss Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda here] and [Watch Dan Proft debate and discuss Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda and Patcoing CTU school teachers here]

But, will Madigan’s people be at those meetings to negotiate about Rauner’s so called non-budget reforms as part of a Grand Bargain on the IL Budget?

Nope, as Madigan’s spokesman, Steve Brown, said, Madigan’s appointees will have a specific role at the negotiations. “On most of those topics, people will be able to go to those meetings and explain what the House has already done on those topics in the past year and a half.” That is, the IL State House and sometimes the State Senate Democratic supra majorities have passed faux reforms, such as a Property tax freeze, without a mechanism to reduce local government costs, which, of course, most local governments do not want.

In other words, will Speaker Madigan, through his reps, negotiate a new causation standard for workers’ compensation cases that might result in fewer claims succeeding when the worker’s condition relates in large part to a pre-exisiting condition that doesn’t relate to an injury during the scope and course of the employee’s current employment?  Watch plaintiff’s trial lawyer Belcher debate and discuss these issues with Berkowitz here and here.

Nope, Madigan’s folks will explain at the meetings that the 2010 so-called workers’ comp. reforms (which go back more than 1 1/2 years) set price controls on payments to doctors, and that’s all the Speaker is going to do– what he did five years ago.

So, no change in causation standard, no reduction in workers comp. costs, no diminishment in employers leaving the state to locate in areas with lower workers’ cost premiums.

As to the budget negotiations, Speaker Madigan made it clear that the proposal for 5.4 billion dollars in new revenue coming from the bi-partisan “Budgeteers,” increase in the income tax rate to 4.85 % and extension of the sales tax to services  would be viewed by the Democrats as “Inadequate,” so those negotiations are dead in the water, too.

In short, the Speaker will agree to none of reforms included in the Governor’s Turnaround agenda and he wants much more new revenue and much less in spending cuts than were in the package forwarded to the Leaders by the budgeteers.

So, the budget negotiations are essentially over.

No, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus.  The IL state legislative session will end on May 31, 2016 with a flurry of “Stop-gap” spending authorizations being passed but without a Fiscal 2016 or Fiscal 2017 budget.

Everybody can go home.  Please move on, there is nothing to look at in Springfield.  Mighty Casey, i.e., Reform has not fared well.

Chicago and Illinois ain’t ready for reform or Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda.  Speaker Madigan just threw another curve ball and Gov. Rauner whiffed. Strike two [watch liberal David Melton [IL Campaign for Political Reform] take an early stab [last summer] with show host Berkowitz at resolving the State Budget impasse, showing, as the French say, the more things change, the more they stay the same]


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