The Budget Battle goes on in Springfield

Will this be the longest State Budget session in History?

In the gridlock world of the Illinois State Capitol Building, overtime just seems to go on forever. There's little excitement, though it does cost a lot of money keeping the governor, legislative leaders, lawmakers, staffers and Capitol workers on the job as one summer month blurs into the next.

Electric rate war
Legislators and utility executives have met for countless hours in the last few months, trying to strike a deal that provides short-term benefit to consumers and long-term assurances of reliable and affordable electricity.
But they've encountered sticking points in both categories.
Recent talks have centered on about $1 billion in relief for customers over several years, with Ameren, ComEd and the companies that generate power for them providing that cash back.
Consumers could receive refund checks for the higher amounts they've paid this year, or get the money as credits on future bills. Consumers who have paid the largest increases could see the most aid, or it could be spread out more to cover all customers paying higher bills.
Negotiators also are trying to decide how high of a rate increase is acceptable for customers for the rest of this year and beyond.
The real complexity, however, comes in making long-term decisions.
Some lawmakers have suggested passing another rate freeze, ensuring customers pay lower rates over the next few months or years while decision-makers plot out where to go next.
But many say that would only add to Illinois' electric rate problems and result in a long legal battle.
"If we pass a rate freeze and then don't fix the structural problems, then the situation continues on for who knows how long," said Rep. Bob Flider, D-Mt. Zion. "I think it would be better if we could come to some resolution rather than have the decisions rest with the courts."

Not happy with the Blagojevich lottery plan
By a 79-6 vote, the Democratic-controlled House defeated Blagojevich's plan to lease the state lottery to private investors to pay down the state's pension debt.
Blagojevich called the vote "a three-ring circus'' and accused House Speaker Michael Madigan, a fellow Democrat from Chicago, of conspiring with Republicans to undermine his social-service spending goals.
"Mr. Madigan, unfortunately, has chosen not to be a Democrat anymore,'' Blagojevich told reporters in the Statehouse. "(He) has chosen to be a part of a right-wing Republican effort to take health care away from children and take meals away from senior citizens and actually cut education, and that's what this fight is all about.
Illinois still has no permanent budget for the fiscal year that started Sunday because the state's top leaders can't agree on a spending plan. Blagojevich wants major new spending for health care, education and other areas, while Madigan says the state can't afford it.


  1. SP Biloxi said...
    "Will this be the longest State Budget session in History?"

    Let's hope not. G-Rod needs to get his act together and pass the budget.
    Third Generation Chicago Native said...
    This is a mess. G-Rod has a lot more to loose, Madigan does not, only people in Madigan's district, his for 25 years are the only people who have the power to vote him out, and they won't. G-Rod has the whole state that can vote him out. Also Madigan would love to have his daughter as Governor, this battle is only helping her chances.

    Yes G-Rod has to fund the pension which has been neglected, he wants to fund more education projects, more healthcare, but with what money. In my last post, last comments I went into this mess. The Lottery/Pension/Education mess.

    The City of Chicago is looking for help from the State for CTA (director Ron Huberman) but the CTA had a small breakdown during the closing of Taste of Chicago one night that kept people stranded on the El for a long time, and they want the Olympics here? Yes a lot more on CTA (Chicago Transit Authority), Stroger/Dr. Simon are looking to the State for Help with the Cook County Healthcare situation. Big problem, not enough money. So are projects, e.g. education, healthcare on G-Rod's agenda going to be dumped? Or are taxes going to go up?
    KittyBowTie1 said...
    "Also Madigan would love to have his daughter as Governor, this battle is only helping her chances."

    Yes, and now you know what the motive is behind the showdown.

    Well, in a choice between Chicago and Rio for the Olympics, I've got to go with Chicago. We may have people shooting at each other and some homeless people but Rio has hundreds of thousands of squatters in the outskirts. Rio has more and poorer people. They need to get busy on that.

    P.S. Cats don't like swimming. That was just too much rain yesterday, and it is not over.
    Third Generation Chicago Native said...
    If Chicago gets the Olympics I will steer clear of the Loop during that time!

    Interesting article in Chicago Magazine on who may get appointed to the Senate should Obama get the presidency, Quinn, Hynnes, Duckworth or Jesse Jackson Jr. were some name thrown out. Other were Guiterrez and both Madigans.
    KittyBowTie1 said...
    Pat Quinn is a good guy. He really cares about vets and he steers clear of Blago. Daddy Madigan is kind of a pain and thinks of himself way too much. The daughter Madigan got elected because of him but is at least smart enough to work hard and not screw up. She did get re-elected without any fuss.
    SP Biloxi said...
    "Daddy Madigan is kind of a pain and thinks of himself way too much. The daughter Madigan got elected because of him but is at least smart enough to work hard and not screw up."

    Hmmm... I wonder if the daddy and his daughter have the same integrity like a John Adams and John Quincy Adams ( different philosophies and approaches as President and father and son). The daddy may have gotten his daughter elected. The real question that she hold her own?
    KittyBowTie1 said...
    I think the daughter is cleaner than daddy.
    SP Biloxi said...
    Let's just hope she stays that way!

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