I’m not gloating!
Despite whatever Kane County Auditor Terry Hunt might say about my thoughts on the apparent end of the state budget impasse, I’m not gloating. (And BTW how ‘bout some prayers for Terry’s mother who’s undergoing an angiogram today.)
Make no mistake, the 16 Springfield Republicans who broke ranks with Governor Rauner will be primaried – it’s already in the works – and it’s always depressing when good people have to pay a price for the doing the right thing.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, I’ve been talking to both sides and if you think this impending budget deal has done anything to douse the partisan anger, you’re dead wrong. In fact, the rancor seems to be getting worse than ever.
To make matters worse, if the Governor doesn’t get behind the budget, i.e. make sure the money goes where it should, fills vacant positions, etc., Moody’s will downgrade the State to junk bond status anyway. And the Governor has shown absolutely no willingness to compromise on anything, thus far.
All I’m saying is, this is what I’ve been saying for the past three years:
1. No one gets 100 percent of a political deal, and if you go for broke, you typically end up with nothing.
2. Regardless of what you think about Michael Madigan, you can’t undo 30 years of his presence in just two or three.
3. If, before this all started, someone told me that the Democrats would come up with kind of concessions they have throughout this difficult budget process, I would’ve insisted that their significant other lock up the liquor cabinet.
C’mon, Governor Rauner admitted he got 90 percent of what he wanted in that school reform bill and he still vetoed it as “not enough.” Ninety-percent wasn’t enough? What politician ever gets 90 percent?
So sadly, while I certainly enjoyed that 24 optimistic hours, Illinois ain’t nearly out of the junk bond woods yet folks.
Why some Republican broke ranks
If you go down that list of 15 state reps and the one state senator who voted for the new budget, you’ll note that most of them represent districts that are home to a state university or other state run facility that’s critical to the local economy.
I’ve been saying that Governor Rauner has been using the budget crisis to shut down schools for years, because he falsely believes it will reflect poorly on the Democrats. But insiders told me the Governor doesn’t think it’s necessary to fund state colleges. Rather than have that discussion, he’s using the stalemate as a kind of a political natural selection which would weed out the weaker ones like Eastern and Western Illinois.
While shutting down a state school in the Chicago area would cause some hardship, to do it in a place like MaComb, Carbondale or Charleston would be devastating. Without those economic engines those communities would decay and die.
So, when faced with two forms of political suicide, those Republicans chose the one that would best serve their constituents. Isn’t that the way it almost always should be?
The IPI has real class
Look, I understand tempers are flaring over all this budget bullshit, but the Illinois Policy Institute truly hit a new low when either they or a commentor :
- Released State Rep Steve Andersson’s cell phone number to the public, and
- Released State Rep Anna Moeller’s saying it was Andersson’s when Steve turned his off.
And then they refused to take it down. Nice!
I’ve always believed the folks at the IPI were nothing more than ultra-partisan bullies who have no regard or concern for the State of Illinois or its citizens, and now there’s no doubt.
They’re not the enemy!
As the question of the Elgin Math and Science Academy heads into the Illinois Charter School Commission’s hands, I gotta tell ya, I’m more than a little dismayed by just how far that debate has descended.
Between chance hallway meeting encounters and the conversation on Facebook, it would seem like we’re considering something along the line of ‘Sophie’s Choice,’ not whether the U-46 School District would benefit from a charter school.
As I stated before, I’ve considered the proposal, read all the news reports, studied other charter school scenarios and we had EMSA Committee Chairman Kerry Kelly and an opposition viewpoint come on the Ward & Jones Radio Show. So my conclusions are well-thought out and fairly straightforward. I’m not convinced:
· The charter school will offer anything the district doesn’t already offer
· Funding can be secured for the school in the long-term
· A 60 percent at-risk student population can be recruited and maintained
· It’s worth pulling $4 million away from other U-46 schools
Please let me remind some of you that, having done my due diligence, it’s not up to this journalist to prove the EMSA folks mathematically wrong. It’s up to them to convince the School Board, and now the Charter School Commission, that their proposal is based on fact and not fancy.
But the fact that I’ve come to those conclusions has no bearing on the merit or the character of the excellent individuals who brought the EMSA proposal forward. All it means is we disagree.
So, when I hear about normally rational people having it out in hallways or see regularly reasonable people turning it into a blood sport on Facebook, it bothers me because neither “side” comes close to approaching the evil incarnate that these conversations tend to make them out to be.
Disagreeing with their proposal by no means means I question the motives of the group that brought it forth. I firmly believe they believe they’re doing what’s right for the district. I know it’s difficult not to counterattack, for EMSA supporters to summarily dismiss or try to intimidate objectors doesn’t help their cause at all, either.
Please, please, please! As we wait for the results of their appeal to the State, let’s tone down the rhetoric before someone goes too far.