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The [Friday] Papers

"Spurring Republican outrage, the Democratic-led Illinois House passed more than $38 billion worth of spending bills Thursday without a clear-cut way to pay for it all," the Sun-Times reports.

Democrats should be outraged too. Are they even capable of self-loathing anymore?

House Speaker Michael Madigan has decided to pass a set of spending bills that essentially assume the temporary tax increase set to expire will be extended - even though he doesn't appear to have the votes to make that so.

It's a fascinating political maneuver in that it will force even members of his own caucus to go back and publicly strip items out of those bills if they don't agree to the tax extension which would fund them.

That's why he "invoked a rare parliamentary maneuver that blocks the spending bills from being sent to the Senate, keeping them under House control."

Those bills will need to be amended if the tax gambit fails. It will become clear which legislators to blame for the resulting cuts.

In effect, Madigan has turned the budget-making process upside-down to put the screws to holdouts willing to let the tax hike lapse.

Absolutely brilliant politics, but absolutely horrid governance.

For example:

One of the first bills to come before the House Thursday was a $6.7 billion spending plan for elementary and secondary education.

Its sponsor, Rep. William "Will" Davis, D-Homewood, who chairs the House Appropriations-Elementary and Secondary Education Committee, shot down the Republican complaints and defended the Democrats' fiscal approach.

"We all indicate K through 12 education is an important part of what we do. While some have suggested this is 'backwards, upside down, cart before the horse,' when it comes to investing for our kids, we should put a high number out there and figure out how we get to that number," Davis told colleagues.

Okay, well, how did you arrive at your number, Will? Why not $7.7 billion? Or $10 billion? Or $100 billion? After all, we all agree that K-12 education is important!

Republicans peppered the various Democratic sponsors of the spending bills with questions about how their proposals would be paid for and typically got non-answers.

"I'm not going to tell you how we're going to pay for it," Rep. Luis Arroyo, D-Chicago, said at one point when asked by Rep. Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove, how his legislation supporting the Prisoner Review Board would be funded.

Okay, don't tell Sandack. But how about filling in the rest of us who will get the bill?

In one instance, Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, zeroed in on a mysterious $15 million grant program for at-risk communities that Democrats inserted in the state Department of Labor budget with little to no explanation of its purpose.

"Can I have the criteria for qualifying for this grant program?" Ives asked Arroyo, who sponsored that spending bill, as well.

After a brief back and forth with Ives, Arroyo answered, "We'll develop the program after we pass this budget."

Maybe hire Dorothy Brown's husband to help.

"You cannot make this stuff up," Ives shot back in disgust. "I hope people are watching. This is appalling. This sickens me."

It's no way to run a government. Maybe the real plot by Madigan is to put Bruce Rauner in the governor's office; this totally plays into his narrative. Meanwhile, the current governor seems to be missing in action.

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Which Tech Companies Have Your Back?
More than used to, thanks to Snowden.

The City's Best Archers . . .
. . . Go to Roberto Clemente High School.

Beachwood Photo Booth: Girls Wanted
For key positions.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Sister Speak, Rodriguez, Cage the Elephant, Foals, Avicii, Gabrielle Aplin, Sturgill Simpson, and Willie Watson.

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BeachBook
* Chicago-Based Boeing Uses Surveillance On Union Activity.

* Spin, Weasel Words And Lies.

* Chicago Cubs Among Those Buying Domain Names Last Week.

* Chicago Dream by Sister Speak.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Dreamy.



Permalink

Posted on May 16, 2014


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Slow TV Chicago.
POLITICS - Dangerous, Low-Wage Industries Depend On Immigrants, Refugees.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Dear Cubs, Make It Stop.

BOOKS - Meet Chicago's American Writers Museum.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Mail Call.


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