Diiiiiiiinnnnggg. We are conducting a hearing test. It is a test to see if Illinois House and Senate members are as tone deaf as we suspect.
We’re assuming some aural disability because that is all that would explain them spending the people’s time declaring October as Zombie Preparedness Month. Their resolution states that “while a Zombie Apocalypse may never happen, the preparation for such an event is the same as for any natural disaster.”
Our assumption is reinforced by the fact that they have time to consider whether pot should be legalized for recreational use in Illinois.
And, again, by them being so deaf to their constituents’ concerns and needs that they would unleash House Speaker Mike Madigan’s attorney and his minion, Illinois Comptroller Susana Medoza, on the pressing question of state lawmakers getting their pay on time. They not only undid the old Republican comptroller action to make state lawmakers and elected officials wait in line with everyone else owed $12.6 billion by our deadbeat state, they got a Chicago judge to order they be bumped to the head of the line.
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Me first. Did zombies eat their brains? Are they high? Are they just deaf?
We are spelling this out because we hope they are not also blind. The business at hand is a balanced state budget and those overdue bills. The business at hand is a state pension system that is $130 billion in the hole.
Nothing else matters without those two items.
There is a proposal to repair the pension system, creating a Tier 3 plan for new employees that mashes a traditional pension with a 401(k)-style plan that could save $1 billion to $2 billion a year. A recent poll showed Illinois taxpayers overwhelmingly support it and allowing current employees the option to switch to it.
There is plenty of prognostication that the Grand Bargain of reforms that will finally create a state budget is dead. Not buying that.
It’s only as dead as lawmakers allow it to be, and if they believe in zombies then they can believe in the immortal words of a late Chicagoan, John Belushi.
“Nothing is over until we say it is!”