Illinois Dems Engage in Deceitful Budget Practices

Once again, Illinois Democrats are engaging in deceitful practices as they are unable to resolve their own dysfunction. Due to disagreements with the specifics of the budget between Democratic legislators, the spring legislative session will now have to extend into the coming weeks. However, instead of bringing Republican voices to the table to craft a sound and balanced budget, Democrats continue to flounder as they attempt to fund pet projects such as the ballooning costs of their healthcare program for undocumented immigrants.

For years, Republican legislators have been left out of budget drafting and discussions. Often during the Madigan era, Republicans would not even see the budget until a few hours before the vote. This type of deceitful practice is done to ensure Democrats can get their budget passed without the other side of the aisle having time to read the thousands of pages that make up the budget legislation. 

Following the Madigan indictment and the ComEd Four trial, one would expect some form of common sense ethical reform. Unfortunately, every attempt to institute comprehensive reform has been buried in committee, far away from even coming to a vote on the House floor. One has to wonder why there is such resistance to this type of change from the majority party. Perhaps because it allows the party in charge to make the rules as they go, ensuring they remain in power. 

All of these issues are compounded by an immense waste of time and money. A common practice in the General Assembly is what many refer to as a ‘gavel in, gavel out’ day in which the session adjourns with minimal to no substantive floor action. This wastes the time of legislators and staff, along with taxpayer dollars as the General Assembly meets without getting anything accomplished for the people who put us here to represent them. 

These practices are just a small part of the reason we need a comprehensive overhaul of government ethics regulations. We must return to enacting the will of the people. As the power imbalance continues to grow, the more reasonable and independent voices begin to get lost in the noise of what seems to be a contest of who can be the most progressive legislator in this assembly. I urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who are fed up with this outlandish behavior to step up and begin making room for other voices at the table. The people of Illinois deserve better. I know it, and you know it. Let’s get to work and stop playing these ridiculous games with the lives and well-being of the people we were elected to serve.