Compromise 'worth cheering about'
Statewide support continues to grow for the Senate’s bipartisan compromise aimed at breaking the two-year budget stalemate that has crippled Illinois’ finances and economic growth.
Commentary in newspapers throughout Illinois has heralded the compromise negotiated by Senate President John Cullerton, a Democrat, and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, a Republican, as a potential breakthrough in a historic budget standoff that otherwise appears to have no end in sight.
The deal could be voted on this week when lawmakers return to Springfield. It includes property tax relief, local government consolidation, new revenue, procurement reform, pension reform, workers compensation reform, gaming expansion, borrowing to pay old bills, school funding reform and more.
Excerpts from recent newspaper editorials and columns:
“Illinois is stumbling through a second year without a basic budget and people and jobs are leaving. Public universities, fitfully funded, are growing wobbly. Social service agencies are cutting back on help to the poor, the disabled and the elderly. If one massive package of bills, full of hard tradeoffs and more than a little rushed, finally can end the paralysis in Springfield, we must be in favor of it.”
— Chicago Sun-Times “Listen to Illinois Senate leaders and say uncle”
“Cullerton and Radogno aren’t in love with everything they are putting forward either, but in their presentation to the Sun-Times, they swallowed their differences to present a united front and side-stepped opportunities for laying blame. That was refreshing, too.”
— Chicago Sun-Times “Rare and refreshing – Democrat and Republican working together”
“So keep your eye on the Illinois Senate. And try to ignore some of those annoying little details. Illinois needs a budget, it needs fiscal balance and it needs a better economic climate. That’s what this is all about.”
— Crain's Chicago Business “Who do you love, Bruce and Mike? Illinois or yourselves?”
“We’ll withhold final judgment on the bills until they’re in final form. But the effort Cullerton and Radogno are making? Good for them. From a capital that achieves almost nothing, it’s ... something.”
— Chicago Tribune “From Cullerton and Radogno, two choices: something or nothing”
“As to the grand deal itself, we can say this: We appreciate the political courage Cullerton and Radogno are displaying in putting the state's interests above their own, risking the political fallout from special interests and partisans.”
— Daily Herald “Courage, yes, but also tax, gambling increases”
“If the Senate achieves its grand bargain, there is still the House and Gov. Rauner to consider. We hope the spirit of compromise, plus feedback from fed-up constituents, will encourage combatants in the Madigan-Rauner feud to relent and reconsider their positions, for the good of the state. Until then, we’re pleased that the Illinois Senators have finally shown up to play. That’s worth cheering about.”
— Sauk Valley News “Plan prompts cheering for the Senators”
“Encouragingly, (Cullerton and Radogno) began this new legislative year sounding the right notes. Whether it will lead to governance triumphing at last over the pull of political power is anyone’s guess. But if these two Senate leader grown-ups can nurture a package of compromise legislation that puts our crippled state back on the path to greatness in this bicentennial year, we will owe them a debt of gratitude.”
— Moline Dispatch-Rock Island Argus “At last, adults are in the room. Let’s listen to them”
“Cullerton and Radogno deserve a round of applause. For a year and a half, budget discussions among the legislative leaders and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner resulted in a one-step-forward, two-step-back awkward dance that hurt Illinois' small businesses and most vulnerable residents as the backlog of unpaid bills piled up, leading to reductions and layoffs by the state's vendors and social service providers.”
— The State Journal-Register “Senate leaders need to keep budget momentum”
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