The programming out of Springfield feels a lot like a television singing contest: Just when you think you are about to see something happen... they take a commercial break.
You sit there feeling fooled again.
Pieces of the Grand Bargain are actually being voted on and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner stops the music over too many taxes with too little reform. Progress is apparent and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza try to halt state workers’ paychecks to force a deal or make Rauner look bad.
So now the state pension reform has been split from the Grand Bargain and combined with $215 million for Chicago teacher pensions. Rauner is pushing it as a way to fix a retirement system that is $130 billion short of the promises made to state workers and to save taxpayers billions. He calls it a foundation upon which lawmakers can work together enough to finally, finally maybe pass a state budget.
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Lawmakers have been on Rauner’s appointees for offering no proposals for cutting their budgets. Rauner has been on lawmakers for not offering proposed cuts and refusing to give him the authority to make them. Call the 12 reform measures the Dirty Dozen, because a small minority of the 4,700 witnesses at the bill hearings had anything nice to say about them.
So we stand there, singing our hearts out and hoping John or Christine or Mike or Jim pushes the button to make something happen. But first a word from our sponsor, likely trying to sell us a cure for one ailment followed by great discomfort and unpleasant side effects every April 15th for years to come.