Once again, the Illnois GOP demonstrates how tone deaf it is to voters, even though they “listened” and “listened” and “listened” some more to the good citizens during the 2014 campaign.
Billionaire Republican Governor Bruce Rauner (a Scott Walker-wannabee and a favorite of Koch-wannabee Uline-owner Dick Uihlein) was elected over incumbent governor Pat Quinn (D) by a 4% margin and is now trying to outdo Scott Walker. Rauner even got JFK’s FCC Commissioner Newton Minow to endorse him.
But already, Rauner’s approval ratings are dropping and some state Republicans are worried about their own jobs. Like most bad marriages, saying one thing (during the campaign) and doing another (once elected) is bad news for any politician.
The 2014 election campaign theme was to fix Illinois’ perceived budget problems, which are estimated in the billions as a result of prior Republican and Democrat administrations’ policies (let’s give money to the rich and steal from the workers’ pensions).
Once Rauner was governor, he has started with a lot of ALEC-inspired moves that aren’t popular with Illinois voters. And actually do nothing to fix the budget problems, but in reality make it worse.
Next, he proposed cutting state park funding.
Then he proposed cutting state school funding.
He proposed cutting the winter heating program.
He proposed cutting education.
He proposed cutting public transit.
He proposed cutting substance-abuse funding.
What about raising taxes on the wealthy and big business? Perish that thought!
Now, instead of going after needless corporate welfare engineered by the Democrats for companies like Ford, Mitsubishi, Motorola, and a raft of others, Rauner cut funding for social services and public health (including autism) going after healthcare for Illinois residents. Rauner suspends $26 million in Illinois health, other money
Another Illinois Republican, Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), wants to privatize all state universities. Coincidentally, this position was never mentioned during his campaign.
Rauner and Brady did not campaign on what they are doing today. If they had, they would have lost, because this is not what Illinois voters wanted.
The problem with all of this whack-a-mole approach to a perceived budget problem is that there is an answer that would go a long way toward fixing the alleged budget crisis, the same one that California used a few years ago. Remember when California’s financial problems were so dire? Carl Hermann analyzed the California CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report) and found a $600 billion surplus from years of surplus funding of state departments.
The saving grace is that Illinois is not like Wisconsin; it maintained House-control with the Democrats, which means that unlike Wisconsin, there is no rubber stamp for the governor.