The [Thursday] Papers
Ugh, this has turned into a rather trying week, so posting on the site has slowed to a trickle. Not for lack of material, but for lack of time and energy on my part, each having been leeched and sucked out of me by the vagaries of the universe and its evil inhabitants. Apologies.
We do have another (three-legged) flight review by our very own Mike Luce today. Rumors of snack boxes involved.
Now let's see what we can scare up out of the papers today before I don the armor once again today and try to slay our enemies.
I'd have to agree.
On first glance, Pat Quinn appears to have laid out the most disastrous consequences of failing to (barely) raise income taxes - along with more massive borrowing - for the state's education system, as if on a dare. That's the clever part; he'll be able to say he tried to save our schools by putting them on the chopping block and begging the General Assembly to follow his rescue plan - and then blame them when they refuse.
On second glance, well, I don't even want to bother taking a second glance because I find it hard to take this proposal seriously, though we'll probably get the massive borrowing part in the end. That's basically the D.O.A. part - it doesn't really matter what Quinn says; Michael Madigan and John Cullerton are calling the shots, and Madigan in particular will refuse to do anything with any political risk unless the Republicans give him cover by joining in.
A strong and really clever governor might be able to craft such a deal, though not necessarily in an election year.
So there we are.
At the same time, though, let's acknowledge that as bad as the fiscal stewardship of this state has been, the biggest kick in the butt has been the Great Recession. Makes you wonder if the federal government shouldn't have prioritized aid to states and cities in its recovery plan - at least beyond its initial outlay. After all, Arne Duncan is sitting on $4.35 billion.
Like with health care, President Obama is going for long-term "transformative" change - if that's what you want to call entrenching mediocre versions of reform into the system - instead of dealing with the crisis at hand. A president has to react to facts on the ground, not visions of grandeur. We just went through eight years of that.
We could use a little more grandeur closer to home, though; Quinn had a chance - once again - to offer a reshaped vision of the state that would address the budget fiasco and set us on a new path. It's pathetic that instead he's down to suggesting the state raise its lowly, flat 3 percent income tax rate to 4 percent; he didn't even have the guts to officially put the "plan" into his proposed budget.
That sounds more like Dead On Departure than Dead On Arrival.
Then again, Madigan and Cullerton should be forced to give their own budget addresses.
Here's an idea: When you go to bond agencies to borrow more money, borrow some courage too.
Except in his own administration.
Pipe Band Politics
"Pipe-band expert Bill Currie insulted Chicago's venerable bagpipers. Now they're playing the main stage at Celtic Fest and he's off the festival's advisory committee."
Geez, even the Celtic Fest advisory committee plays hardball in this town.
Da Da Da, Da Da Da
The Beachwood Tip Line: Not dead yet.
Posted on March 11, 2010
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