Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner this past week worked with lawmakers — no not on the state budget, but there was a twinkle of hope that the state’s politicians do understand how to work together and maybe get something accomplished.
The day care eligibility formula that Rauner this summer tightened from 185 percent of the poverty level to 50 percent was relaxed. It is now 162 percent — not much change, but the governor retained the ability to revise it if funding dries up and avoided a bill that would have locked the formula.
Then there was nearly unanimous, bipartisan support in the House for releasing $2 billion in 911, motor fuel tax and video gambling funds being withheld by the state from local governments. Rauner signaled he was on board, and even suggested adding money for road salt with winter coming.
But the Illinois Senate went home for the holidays. They are not due back until January.
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Plato said: “The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” Wonder what the penalty is for allowing ourselves to be ruled by indifferent men?
Through this four months of budget limbo and state spending on autopilot or via court decree, state lawmakers by state statute have been guaranteed their pay regardless of whether they did their jobs. That law should change so that if failure to pass a state budget takes food from anyone’s mouth, then those responsible go hungry as well.
Remember your state senator in the coming months as your car slides into the lamp post because there was not enough salt on the road.