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Illinois lawmakers set time bomb to get Rauner, hit students instead

Belleville News Democrat

Sunday, July 30, 2017  |  Editorial  |  By The Editorial Board

Education Funding (36a) , Governor (44) Madigan, Michael--State House, 22
The Illinois General Assembly agreed to freeze their per diems at $111 a day and mileage at 39 cents. Gov. Bruce Rauner just signed House Bill 643 into law.

Interesting that they can come together on something so relatively inconsequential. Interesting that they agreed to anything that is other than self-interest.

Which makes you wonder whether there is some self-interest at the heart of this thing.

Lawmakers couldn’t pass a budget for more than two years and were willing to owe other people $15 billion, but they sure got their paychecks on time. The rest of us don’t get paid if we don’t work.

So could it be that they realize the optics are bad on that issue? They fear facing voters in 2018 looking like a bunch of self-serving, ineffective louts? Do they think limiting the per diems would give them the ability to say, “See, we aren’t all about us”?

They got a chance to earn another $111 a day plus mileage this past week, when Rauner called lawmakers back into session to advance Senate Bill 1, the education funding bill. They failed to do so because Rauner promised an amendatory veto to remove a Chicago Public School pension bail-out. Big surprise, because they are likely doing all this to force an August showdown to get that Chicago money and hand Rauner another fanny-whoooping — at the cost of our students.

“Why wait until Monday to send me the bill? It’s unconscionable. It’s wrong. Our children deserve so much better than this. It’s wrong to take money from school kids and send it to (Chicago Public School) pension payments,” Rauner said.

So again, it comes back to elections and Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan ensuring Rauner’s 2018 re-election is doomed.

Makes you wonder what makes Madigan tick. Rauner said Madigan told him exactly what makes him tick about eight years ago when Rauner was handing out political cash.
“I asked him at a lunch, ‘What’s your goal for improving the future of Illinois?’ ... He laughed. He said, ‘I got no goal like that.’ He said, ‘Bruce, I do two things. I manage power, and I make money from managing power.’ I wanted to throw up my lunch.”

The nausea is catching.

Tick. Tick. Tick. Term limits, or more casualties from the long implosion of the Illinois time bomb.