Gov. BRUCE RAUNER is doing another about-face by calling lawmakers back for a special session that will run from Wednesday until June 30, the end of the fiscal year. It’s another reversal for him because a year ago at this time, when the state was similarly lurching toward the end of the fiscal year with no budget, Rauner refused to call a special session. The governor said it would be a waste of time since House Speaker MICHAEL MADIGAN told him the House wouldn’t be voting on the stuff Rauner wanted passed.
Unless Madigan has been having secret chats with the governor, there’s no guarantee the House will be voting this year on the stuff Rauner wants, which was laid out at a news conference last week by Republican lawmakers. In fact, Madigan issued a statement saying the “onus is on the governor to show that he is finally serious about working in good faith to end the crisis he has manufactured.” That doesn’t sound like Madigan’s ready to take up the GOP/Rauner plan.
We’ll find out in a few days if everything that has happened this last week is a breakthrough to finally ending the budget stalemate, or if Rauner’s previous assessment that special sessions don’t accomplish anything is once again correct.
* Rauner and Republican lawmakers said they are offering a compromise to the Democrats in an effort to get something resolved.
Whether it is a compromise is in the eye (or party affiliation) of the beholder. Still, there was no shortage of partisanship on display when the Republican plan was outlined and the special session called.
For example, House Republican Leader JIM DURKIN of Western Springs asked where was “the sense of urgency from Speaker Madigan to bring this budget impasse to closure.” He also said witnesses at a couple of recent House committee hearings were “nothing more than human shields for the House Democrats’ economic failures this last decade.”