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items tagged with John Cullerton

Governor Needs to Learn to Deal with Madigan
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-07-26 11:11:32

Last week, Governor Bruce Rauner declared to reporters that if it weren’t for House Speaker Michael Madigan, the budget impasse would’ve been resolved.

And perhaps if the sky were green, then grass would be blue.

For starters, what the governor said is dubious. In the absence of Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and his liberal Democratic caucus wouldn’t have gone along with the harshly anti-union aspects of Rauner’s “Turnaround Agenda” in exchange for a budget deal and tax hike, as the governor is demanding.


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Dueling Messages Reveal Ploy to Work Against Madigan
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-06-28 14:27:09

House Speaker Michael Madigan likes to send “messages.” He doesn’t often explain what those messages are, but last week’s surprising defeat of a bill to give the Chicago Public Schools a 40-day extension on its $634-million pension payment due June 30 was most surely a message to somebody.

Despite his spokesperson saying the day before that Madigan was “prepared to be supportive,” it’s clear that Madigan did not work to pass the bill, which was being pushed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. His staff did not urge members to vote for it before or during the roll call.

Madigan himself said he did not ask Republicans for a specific number of votes for a structured roll call, which is another indication that he wasn’t ready to move the ball forward.

Madigan’s deputy majority leader, Lou Lang, presided over the proceeding. A newspaper reported that Lang voted “no” so he could file a motion to reconsider that would keep it alive. Okay, but if you watch the roll call, Lang pushed his red button right after the voting opened, which probably sent a strong signal to the rank and file.


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Legislative Session Produced a Few Winners
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2014-06-08 11:56:25

There were lots of losers during the state legislative session that ended last month. But there were a few winners, so let’s take a look at them.

First up: Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner.

Never before has a political party nominated a gubernatorial candidate who had more impact on a legislative session than Rauner did this year. The gazillionaire’s unlimited supply of money and his constant threats to “shake up Springfield” clearly put legislators of both parties on edge all spring – even before he won the primary.


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Quinn Lines Up His Ducks for Budget Address
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2014-03-30 12:27:49

It turns out that Governor Pat Quinn and the two Democratic legislative leaders met privately for at least several days to negotiate details of the governor’s budget address.

The highly unusual move means that most if not all aspects of Quinn’s budget proposals last week have already been agreed to by the Democrats who run the Illinois Statehouse.

House Speaker Michael Madigan tipped his hand after the governor’s address during Jak Tichenor’s invaluable Illinois Lawmakers public-television program when he twice insisted that the governor’s property-tax proposal was actually his idea.

The governor proposed eliminating the state’s property-tax credit, which is currently worth 5 percent of property taxes paid, and replacing it with an automatic $500 tax refund.

That idea was apparently just one of Madigan’s demands in exchange for supporting the governor’s proposal to make the “temporary” income-tax hike permanent, which was the centerpiece of Quinn’s speech.


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Goaded Senate President Punts on Pension Reform
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2013-06-02 23:01:14

I told my newsletter subscribers several weeks ago that, without a doubt, if Senate President John Cullerton caved in to House Speaker Michael Madigan on pension reform, Cullerton’s legacy as Madigan’s junior partner would be forever sealed.

The two men have battled for months over the proper way to proceed. Cullerton has said that the state Constitution requires that public workers and retirees be given a set of options before their pension benefits can be reduced. Madigan has said that idea doesn’t save enough money, and he has looked for the most cost savings possible. With the pension system at $100 billion in unfunded liability and taxpayer costs rising by about a billion dollars a year, this has become the most important state fiscal issue of our time. It has to be resolved.

I ran into Madigan not long after I wrote that stuff about Cullerton’s possible cave. “Rich, you’re not helping,” he said to me.


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