Illinois: Another budget deadline passes
July 1, 2017 10:17 AM   Subscribe

The state budget thing has gotten ugly this year. Washington had a budget signed 45 minutes before the shutdown deadline. New Jersey is in shutdown right now. As is Maine.

Symptoms of a truly broken process.
posted by hippybear at 10:31 AM on July 1, 2017 [5 favorites]

Some coworkers and I (yes, I am a resident of Illinois) came up with a potential solution to this problem.

If you don't have a budget to pay your bills, there's no budget to pay legislator's salaries.

Seriously, most people in real life don't get the option to finish a mission critical task in our jobs over two years after we were instructed to.

I know it is not easy, but it has to get done and done now.
posted by Samizdata at 11:09 AM on July 1, 2017 [29 favorites]

The worst part of the Illinois governor's refusal to produce a budget is that many of his direct supporters are profiting massively from it. From the decreasing bond status meaning higher investor profits to the exorbitant late-payment penalties there are people who are making out like bandits on his abject failure to govern. By not doing his job he is effectively implementing perfectly Republican trickle-up economics.
posted by srboisvert at 11:09 AM on July 1, 2017 [38 favorites]

I would just go with "if you can't put together a budget on time, you're all fired."

As a Wisconsinite, I cannot fathom how Illinois is worse at state-level politics than we are, but here you go.
posted by Slinga at 11:14 AM on July 1, 2017 [6 favorites]

I think Rauner and Madigan should fight a duel to the death, and get this mess over with.
posted by MikeWarot at 11:20 AM on July 1, 2017 [4 favorites]

If you don't have a budget to pay your bills, there's no budget to pay legislator's salaries.

Which gets you a government composed of former private equity investors like Rauner (or Pritzker or Kennedy) and lawyers with side jobs like Madigan who don't need their legislator salaries.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 11:42 AM on July 1, 2017 [25 favorites]

This is what happens when you election a party that explicitly runs on the premise that government does not work.

Republicans are incapable of operating in good faith it's the govenor that is allowing this to happen. Democrats regardless of what you may think of their policy vews are at least trying.
posted by kzin602 at 11:43 AM on July 1, 2017 [20 favorites]

As a Wisconsinite, I cannot fathom how Illinois is worse at state-level politics than we are, but here you go.

Because we have two strong headed assholes, neither of whom wants to lose face. I'm not fan of Madigan, and his leadership in the House over the last 30 years is part of the reason why Illinois is in the state it is. Someone needs to challenge him, but...

Rauner is an even bigger asshole. He claims he's trying to solve Illinois's budget issues, but he's put conditions on budget negotiation that are political maneuvering (term limits, end public sector unions, weaken others). Even his budget related position on freezing property tax doesn't help, and will only further erode Illinois finances. He admitted at one point that the current budget problems can't be solved w/o a constitutional amendment.

So why doesn't he agree to a budget? Because there's political hay to be made.

I never thought I'd be rooting for Madigan, but here I am. Rauner is just posturing b/c he wants to be a national, Republican hero so he can run for President. He doesn't give two shits about the long term finances of Illinois.
posted by sbutler at 11:48 AM on July 1, 2017 [27 favorites]

What sbutler said. We had a budget agreement between the parties (the Grand Bargain). Rauner scuttled it by calling in all the vulnerable Republican legislators and convincing them to drop their support. The Senate Republican leader, Christine Radogno, has just resigned in frustration. The governor is trying to break the state government.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 3:57 PM on July 1, 2017 [4 favorites]

"So why doesn't he agree to a budget? Because there's political hay to be made. I never thought I'd be rooting for Madigan, but here I am. Rauner is just posturing b/c he wants to be a national, Republican hero so he can run for President. He doesn't give two shits about the long term finances of Illinois."

And Rauner LITERALLY DOES NOT CARE if people die for his personal profit, as he proved over and over during his years in private equity, most notably when he starved nursing homes of necessary revenues and cut staff and supplies to the bone so he could profit -- people literally died so he could make an extra percentage point -- and when he bought up a drug given to premature infants with a heart condition and jacked the price up 1,300%, rendering it unaffordable for many parents. And now he's playing fucking games about whether he's a "pro-life" governor (after running on the premise that he was pro-choice and/or didn't care). GOVERNOR YOU KILLED BABIES TO MAKE MONEY. YOU KILLED GRANDMOTHERS TO MAKE MONEY. THERE IS NO UNIVERSE IN WHICH YOU CAN PLAUSIBLY CLAIM TO BE PRO-LIFE.

Here's the latest-breaking development, that the House Dems will at least bring a revenue bill; it's a little unclear whether they have enough GOP votes to pass it (over the assumed veto).

I have a couple of friends serving in the statehouse and they are SO TICKED, watching their (personal) facebook feeds has been interesting. Of course involved in state government as we are, and living downstate, we know SO MANY PEOPLE who have lost jobs due to the impasse. Waiting lists for state-provided services are SO HIGH right now ... it's 18 months to get in for autism services in many downstate counties, for example (Rauner zeroed out the autism funding on World Autism Day because he is So Great). 18 months of lost therapy is going to equate to YEARS of lost progress and millions of dollars of costs to the state later on.

The state is way behind on payments it has to make -- something like nine months behind on payments to schools, which makes it awfully difficult to run a district. Way, way behind on payments to medical providers etc. ... I get my healthcare through a state employee plan, and I have a six-month dental appointment next week and they still haven't reimbursed me for my LAST dental appointment almost seven months ago (in this case I have to pay up front and put in for reimbursement, which isn't typical, but has provided an education in how long it takes the darn bills to get paid). And the killer thing is, they have to pay me interest for every month it's delayed, and it's really good interest! Much better than I get from my bank.

Here's the grossest story about the state being way behind on medical payments for state employee insurance that employees are paying premiums for on time: "Her twin one-year-old boys were born premature, but while Kade is just fine, Kobe lags behind. His lungs still haven’t fully developed and he struggles to breathe on his own. [...] Kenea works for the state of Illinois. Like many of us, she relies on her insurance. She pays her premiums and expected that the state would pay its bills. [...] After three years, Illinois still doesn’t have a budget and is now billions of dollars in debt to service provides. Byrd-Watson, the company that supplied Kobe’s oxygen machines, told Kenea they wanted Kobe’s oxygen machine back. [...] Kenea was in a panic. But the worst moment came with a bang on the door. Marion County Sheriff’s Deputies showed up at her home, the supplier at their side, demanding their equipment."

FOR FUCKING REAL. A medical service company sent the sheriff to REPOSSESS THE OXYGEN MACHINE FROM A PREMATURE BABY FROM AN EMPLOYED WOMAN WHO HAS BEEN PAYING FOR HER INSURANCE THE WHOLE TIME. (The officers called back to the HQ and were told "get the fuck out of there and do not repossess a baby's medical equipment" and the company grudgingly agreed to delay repossession until she was able to arrange an alternate supplier who agreed to take on the very delayed payments from the state so her child wouldn't die.)

ANYWAY! Bruce Rauner is happy to kill babies -- as a private equity guy and as governor! -- so he can make a little more money and pay lower taxes. He gives absolutely zero shits about the people of Illinois when he cannot even be made to STOP KILLING BABIES.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:40 PM on July 1, 2017 [83 favorites]

The first linked article isn't working for me and I can't find it on the Daily Herald website, but I think this may be the same AP piece, if anyone is looking for it.
posted by sldownard at 3:56 AM on July 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

[Thanks, sldownard, I've changed it in the post (original link was this). ZeusHumms, let us know if you have an alternative you'd rather use.]
posted by taz (staff) at 4:07 AM on July 2, 2017

No worries, thanks for the update.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:48 AM on July 2, 2017

The end of the first AP piece:

Because lawmakers never passed a budget accounting for the rollback of the income tax increase, Illinois is still spending more money than it has coming in.

And as more groups go to court to get paid, and judges order more spending, the deficit has grown. Illinois' deficit for the current fiscal year is an estimated $6 billion.

Mendoza, the state comptroller, warned this week that without a budget, the state by August will have $185 million more in state-mandated and court-ordered payments than it will have revenue to pay them.

She said that would make "the unthinkable" — such as delaying pension payments or not paying state workers — very likely.

"Illinoisans must brace for maximum impact," she said.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:34 AM on July 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

Governor Rauner is a perfect Republican. He can't even bother to run a lottery for a profit for the state of Illinois but he did make hundreds of millions from private equity for himself.

Trump without the twitter and the nazis.
posted by srboisvert at 2:51 PM on July 2, 2017 [6 favorites]

As a Wisconsinite, I cannot fathom how Illinois is worse at state-level politics than we are, but here you go.

As a fellow Wisconsinite, maybe we shouldn't count our chickens yet. The Assembly on one hand and the governor and Senate on the other are strongly at odds, despite everything being run by one party. There's no money for roads, and no one agrees on how to get it: some want a gas tax increase (and flatten the tax brackets just 'cuz) and others want toll roads.
posted by Jpfed at 7:08 PM on July 2, 2017

Looks like the House passed something today:

Chicago Tribune: Madigan's House approves major income tax hike as Republicans break with Rauner

Capitol Fax: *** UPDATED x1 - Spending bill passes with even larger margin *** House passes tax bill with strong bipartisan roll call

But since it involves a tax hike, Rauner is (of course) threatening to veto, so....
posted by Westringia F. at 7:18 PM on July 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

John O'Connor/AP

I'm always happy to see my community theater buddy John get national love. It also distracts me from staring into the abyss that is our state's political arena.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 6:45 AM on July 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Monique Garcia and Kim Geiger/Chicago Tribune: Madigan's House approves major income tax hike as Republicans break with Rauner
The Illinois House on Sunday approved a major income tax increase as more than a dozen Republicans broke ranks with Gov. Bruce Rauner amid the intense pressure of a budget impasse that's entered its third year.

The Republican governor immediately vowed to veto the measure, saying Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan was "protecting the special interests and refusing to reform the status quo."

The measure, which needed 71 votes to pass and got 72, is designed to start digging the state out of a morass left by the lengthy stalemate. Madigan, in a statement, praised the action as "a crucial step toward reaching a compromise that ends the budget crisis by passing a fully funded state budget in a bipartisan way."

The tax hike now heads to the Senate, but whether there will be enough votes to send it to Rauner's desk is in question. When the Senate approved its own tax hike in late May, no Republicans voted for it and several Democrats voted against it. Senators return to the Capitol on Monday.
Will be interesting to see if it passes the state senate and makes it to the governor's desk.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:26 AM on July 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

...where it will be vetoed. I don't think anything will pass. I bet they stop paying me soon, as a State worker. Feeling dispairing.
posted by agregoli at 10:28 AM on July 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

This happened earlier today. Monique Garcia and Kim Geiger/Chicago Tribune: Illinois Senate approves major income tax hike despite Rauner veto threat
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:40 AM on July 4, 2017

Senate has overridden the veto, now it goes back to the House.
posted by jordemort at 12:53 PM on July 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Lots of back and forth today. Not sure if the Illinois House will convene today or not and vote. Apparently threats of junk bond status are attention grabbers.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:21 PM on July 4, 2017

Word is the House WON'T convene because they all went home and can't get everyone back into Springfield before tomorrow. (One House member literally got out of his hospital bed where he was being treated for multiple myeloma to vote for the initial passage, and Rauner held off on the veto for a day or two to play politics when this guy may well die now because he's left his cancer treatment for five days to come vote, get vetoed, and override. Is there no one Rauner won't kill for fun?)

At this point, however, it's probably to the Dems' advantage if the markets open tomorrow and Illinois gets downgraded to junk bond status, and THEN the House comes to the rescue and overrides. Rauner is spinning this as "I vetoed a huge tax increase" and is going to (super-dishonestly) run on the idea that he wanted to save money with cuts and we had no budget for two years because he was holding out against unnecessary tax increases, even though he knows they're necessary; that'll give a counternarrative of "Rauner is Governor Junk Bond, who drove Illinois to be the first state in history whose bonds weren't investment grade." And Madigan clearly is willing to play the "Governor Junk" game.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:30 PM on July 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

Tina Sfondeles/Chicago Sun-Times: Madigan sets Thursday vote to override Rauner’s veto of budget package

They didn't have a quorum today.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:53 AM on July 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

I just don't understand how anyone thinks this is a large tax increase, especially on the wealthy. Suppose you have $100,000 of taxable income in Illinois. Then your taxes go up from about $3500 to about $5000. That's only $125 each month: about $4.17 per day. If you have $30,000 of taxable income in Illinois, your taxes go from about $1050 to about $1500, which amounts to $37.50 each month or $1.25 per day. Clearly it's not great for people who don't have as much disposable income. But even in light of the constitutionally-mandated, regressive flat tax, the tax increase being proposed is not large in real dollar terms. Especially when one thinks about what's in the other pan of the balance. Am I missing something here?
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 12:41 PM on July 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

It's not about policy or taxes, it's about "tax" being used as a magic invocation to elect Republicans.

It's the permanent campaign, that never gets to governing.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:00 PM on July 5, 2017 [4 favorites]

All you need to know about Rauner is that he refuses to sign a school funding bill because he only agrees with 90% of what's in it. Someone needs to learn the meaning of the word "compromise!"
posted by SisterHavana at 2:54 PM on July 5, 2017 [3 favorites]

Sun Times is helpfully calling it a 'Hazmat situation' (Tina Sfondeles/Sun Times)
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:01 PM on July 6, 2017

We have a budget!
posted by hwyengr at 2:53 PM on July 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Looks like we do!
posted by Reverend John at 2:54 PM on July 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Next stop, Capital bill... (please??)
posted by hwyengr at 2:55 PM on July 6, 2017

I took some time before bed to email all the senators and representatives in my area who voted for the override, because they've all had a super shitty day (especially the Republicans), what with all the death threats and screamed invective. I know most of them a little bit from my time in local government, I just said, "Hey, thanks for making the hard choice, families like mine depend on those services." Which I know they know, but sometimes it's nice to have someone say thanks.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:23 PM on July 6, 2017 [11 favorites]

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