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The [Wednesday] Papers

"Rauner to deliver second budget speech in Springfield before passing his first," the Tribune reports.

Won't that screw up the space-time continuum?

Next he'll be fending off passes from his mother and skateboarding to the clock tower, or something.

When Brucey said he was gonna shake up Springfield, no one knew he meant the calendar.

Okay, it's not really funny.

"Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner will find himself Wednesday in the awkward position of delivering his second budget proposal before winning approval of his first, the result of unprecedented partisan gridlock that has closed social service programs, driven up the state's debt and threatens the operation of state universities.

"It's a situation even Rauner has deemed 'a mess.'"

A mess of his own making.

*

But aren't Democrats to blame too?

Democrats are surely to blame for their part in creating this state's horrid budget outlook. But consider this: If the governor were anyone but Rauner - including the other Republican candidates who ran in the last primary - would we be in this position? No, clearly.

That's because of this:

"It's hard to give a budget speech for a state that doesn't have a budget," Rauner said Tuesday while addressing the state's pork producers. "But you know what? It's not really about the budget. It's about the future direction of Illinois."

It's not really about the budget.

It's about Rauner's maniacal obsession first and foremost with unions - coming from the guy who said during his campaign that "Pushing any specific labor regulation is not my priority at all."

Remove Rauner from the picture and we're still not in great shape, but we're moving forward. Remove anyone else from the picture - including Michael Madigan - and we're still stuck. There you go.

*

"Indeed, the lack of a state spending plan hinges on strongly held ideological differences between Rauner and Democrats who control the General Assembly about where Illinois should draw the line on business regulations and worker protections.

"The governor wants changes in how workers are compensated for on-the-job injuries, tighter rules on big-dollar civil lawsuits and limits on what unions can negotiate in collective bargaining."

So Rauner is right - it's not about the budget, it's about the future of Illinois. But Rauner will never truly get the debate he wants if he doesn't pass a budget first. He's governing backwards because his priorities are upside-down.

*

"Democrats contend those proposals would harm middle-class families and should be negotiated separately from the budget. Absent the changes, Rauner has suggested Democrats go ahead and pass a tax hike without him to balance the state's woefully out-of-whack finances."

Except that Rauner wouldn't sign that bill and the Democrats are short two to three votes of sustaining a veto.

Also, Rauner has yet to submit a balanced budget proposal.

So here we are, Year Two of Zero Budget. It's a sequel that's already worse than the original.

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The Education Inequity Echo Chamber
An area educator talks back to Tribune columnist John Kass about his soliloquy to suburban taxpayers.

How The Cook County State's Attorney's Race Would Be Reshaped By A Small Donor Program
Foxx would lead Alvarez by $210,000.

FIFA's Radio Deals: Rigged?
"It's all closed doors. You never see contracts. Even if you want to go for the rights, you are basically told the deals have already been done," said one radio network executive familiar with bidding for soccer broadcast rights.

Cars For Days!
And Doug E. Fresh. At the Chicago Auto Show.

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Posted on February 17, 2016


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
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POLITICS - Filing: Walmart CEO Made $22.4 Million Last Year.
SPORTS - Canada Cuts Youth Hockey Injuries In Half.

BOOKS - America, We Need To Talk.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Wyoming, Michigan.


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