It seems Rod Blagojevich wasn't the real stumbling block to get anything accomplished in Springfield after all. Even with his hairness out of the picture, lawmakers and Gov. Pat Quinn, Blago's successor and one-time running mate, couldn't agree on how to bail out Illinois government from the billions in dollars we're in the hole.
Surprisingly, it was the same people who put us in this mess, the Democratic leadership who followed Blago down the yellow brick road to wrack and ruin, that continued to look toward tax increases without looking at cutting spending. Hello, Illinois Senate. They still don't get it.
Amidst people being asked to take furloughs and give back pay hikes, a statewide unemployment rate licking at the 10 percent range, along with some of the largest companies in the state and nation going into bankruptcy, aka General Motors, our lawmakers want to raise taxes and fees. If Illinois voters don't punish these ladies and gents at the polls next year, it's time to think about moving to America's Dairyland.
It's interesting to compare how Illinois pols tackle a budget crisis compared to Wisconsin. Up north, Gov. Jim Doyle has issued an executive order forcing all state employees to take 16 days off over the next two years. The order applies to 69,000 state workers. In addition, Doyle has rescinded a 2 percent pay raise for non-union workers and asked union workers to give up the raise or face the layoff of 400 state workers.
That is expected to save $121 millon over the two years the furlough is in effect. Not much considering Wisconsin has a $6.6 billion budget shortfall. But it is something.
Matter of fact, Lake County government and forest preserve officials could take a lesson from Gov. Doyle, who, like Pat Quinn, is a Democrat. You didn't hear Quinn talking about state worker layoffs as a first resort, now did you? This guy is so over his head he's beginning to make Blago look like a statesman.
Gov. Quinn wants to expand video poker and raise taxes. That's a good start for a re-election campaign, eh, governor?