Well, now this is a special day and we’re wishing we’d baked a cake or fried up a mess of chicken for all the good people traveling from Chicago and Springfield to be with us here today. Locals often head to Springfield for a lobby day on behalf of education or farms or labor or guns, so it’s nice to have the state folks return the favor when they need something.
Yes, they could have settled all that fuss about continuing to pay state workers in a Cook County or a Sangamon County circuit courtroom, but they decided to come visiting right here in good old St. Clair County. We could wonder “why here” out of the 102 counties in Illinois, when all the participants are from elsewhere, but then we all know “why here,” right?
So we welcome them today with open arms as Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan tries her best to create a crisis. She is hoping if newly retained, er, re-elected Circuit Judge Robert LeChien goes the way she figures a good, loyal Democrat will go, the order keeping the state paychecks flowing without a state budget will be yanked and there will be a bunch of state workers, led by 35,000 AFSCME members, marching at their own lobby day and abusing effigies of Gov. Bruce Rauner right after Feb. 28, the day she wants to stop their paychecks.
The Illinois status quo, a.k.a. Mike Madigan, d.b.a. daddy to the attorney general, is also hoping to take this opportunity of crisis to splatter Rauner. After nearly two years without a state budget, blame obviously rests with the guy trying to change business as usual, rather than those who have spent more than was in the till and run the business into the ground since 1983.
None are clean as $11.9 billion in pig slop continues to hit the fan.
We are surrounded by people measuring their potential for gain by our propensity for long-term dysfunction — decades of deficits precipitating years without budgets. Every one of Illinois’ neighboring states is a right-to-work state, each one is gaining our employers and workers, and their universities are attracting our professors and students — never to return.
Maybe the AG has the right idea. Maybe it is time for hand grenades instead of lumber and nails.
In any case, we expect her to find what she’s seeking in Judge Robert “Nice Puppy” LeChien’s courtroom.