Illinois' current budget fight is frustrating, but it's not the first time the state has found itself in a similar situation. Former Gov. Jim Edgar spoke to Reboot Illinois' Madeleine Doubek about his own budget brawl in 1991:
The end result is nearly inevitable. We're headed for budget cuts and a tax hike, along with perhaps some changes to workers' compensation rules and property taxes.
We can get there the easy way or the hard way. Right now, we're headed toward the harder path, with Democratic lawmakers poking GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner through floor speeches and constituent rallies and Rauner poking back with a return to turnaround rallies.
But we haven't seen anything yet. This could erupt into an all-out assault, with Rauner's threatened ad campaign that has yet to materialize and House Speaker Michael Madigan's massive mailers, or it could be resolved more diplomatically, behind closed doors.
Last week, when GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner pulled his cabinet officers together to brace them for budget gridlock over what could be a long summer, he sought to liken his situation to another time when he told them all about how former GOP Gov. Jim Edgar didn't get a budget done with Democratic Speaker Madigan until the third week of July during his first year in office.
That was 24 years ago, in 1991. Rauner suggested the hang-up then, as it is now, was partly over controlling out-of-reach property taxes. It's true some of the basic dynamics are the same with a rookie Republican governor dealing with Democratic majorities, but Edgar reminded me there are some pretty significant differences, too.
It's true Madigan didn't talk to Edgar his first four months in office. But lawmakers always worked through June back then, not May, so getting a deal done three weeks into July wasn't all that late.
Read the rest of Doubek's comparison between 1991 and 2015 at Reboot Illinois.
If the governor and the legislature don't figure out a budget plan soon, the state government could head into a shutdown with government employee strikes June 30. In a pair of dueling opinion pieces in the Chicago Tribune, two columnists debated whether such a shutdown would be worse for the Democrats or the Republicans. Check out a breakdown of both arguments at Reboot Illinois.
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