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The [Tuesday] Papers

"Gov. Bruce Rauner typically has been unwilling to offer specifics about what he would accept as concessions from Democrats for a grand bargain on the state budget," the Tribune reports.

"For more than a year, his requirements often have been presented vaguely as some combination of the items in his turnaround agenda, which includes new limits on workers' compensation benefits, new rules for civil lawsuits, a property tax freeze coupled with provisions that allow local governments to decide what gets collectively bargained, term limits on elected officials and new rules for drawing political maps. Along the way, the governor has added to the mix a proposal to help fix the state's pension problem.

"Rauner visited Tribune Tower on Monday and offered a clearer picture of what he would accept."

Well, that sounds promising.

Changes to the rules on civil lawsuits, commonly referred to as "tort reform" is "off the table, for now," Rauner said.

"The biggies," Rauner said, are changes to workers' compensation, the property tax freeze with collective bargaining provisions and legislation to alleviate the pension problem. Asked if that would be enough for him to strike a deal with Democrats, Rauner said: "Yeah, sure."

"Yeah, sure" like "Hell, yeah!" or "Yeah, sure" like "Whatever it will take to get mom and dad off my back right now?"

Because it sounds to me like the latter.


Meanwhile, from the link (hey, a link!):

"[A] re-election pledge came as Rauner accused the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, the state's largest employees' union, of trying to wait out his term before working toward a new contract.

"The union wants nothing. They just want to delay. They want to delay (contract talks) for another two-and-a-half years and hope that I'm gone, but I'm going to run again, so, you know," said Rauner.

Of course he's pledging to run again. That's a talking point he's making sure is heard on his latest counterproductive media tour, now featuring rhetoric describing the Illinois economy as "collectivist." Not helping.

NBC Chicago made a headline out of the re-election pledge, but it's really more a threat than a promise.

Beyond that, he's obviously trying to extend the political framing beyond this fall's elections, when it's possible Illinois Democrats will gain a working supermajority and Rauner's governorship will effectively be over.

It's an amateur play; budget negotiators and Democratic party leaders aren't going to go about their jobs any differently because Rauner wants them to believe he's not a lame duck - nor will it somehow motivate voters to deliver more Republicans into the General Assembly.

Rauner has spent his gubernatorial tenure trying to find pressure points he can use to leverage his positions - and he's failed miserably at it. Using the media and his own public relations machinery to persuade voters to change the balance of the General Assembly has not worked - nor has pouring millions into legislative races. Visiting misery upon every corner of the state in order to make everyone cry uncle has not worked. Pretending there are legislative Democrats who secretly support his agenda has not created any of those Democrats. And yet, Rauner persists without stopping to take stock and reassess the situation. He hasn't come to grips with a simple fact: Most Illinoisans don't want to trade away their collective bargaining rights so a runaway private equity specialist can balance a budget on their backs. I'm also guessing that most don't understand the morality of holding hostage the budget of the nation's fifth-largest state in order to "reform" workers' compensation that determines how much employers who maim their employees have to pay out - especially when a workers' compensation reform bill was passed just five years ago. (Do that separately. Or is it that the only way to get your agenda passed because it can't pass on its own merits?)

What voters wanted from Rauner was some of that famed business expertise to change and modernize the way the government actually operated, along with the eye of an expert financial officer who could literally go line by line through the state budget and figure out where the inefficiencies were. They wanted a turnaround artist, not a Turnaround Agenda - and certainly not one that reads like it was drawn up by the hero-president of a Chamber of Commerce in an Ayn Rand novel. Voters thought they were getting a focused and clear-minded business person who could "get things done" without being held back by political attachments. I never bought that because he ran the most disingenuous gubernatorial campaign I'd ever seen, as I wrote at the time, but I understood the appeal.

Instead, we have a man who is a tactical disaster executing an unworkable strategy.



Better than John Oliver's take.



A sampling.









The Beachwood Tronc Line: Like a giant funnel.


Posted on June 21, 2016

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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