“Crisis creates opportunity,” Gov. Bruce Rauner told the Chicago Tribune editorial board in April. “Crisis creates leverage to change . . . and we’ve got to use that leverage of the crisis to force structural change.”
The “crisis” is the state’s severe fiscal problems. At Rauner’s behest, the Democratic-controlled Illinois General Assembly allowed the state’s temporary income tax to mostly expire on Jan. 1, which created a massive budget hole.
The Republican governor is refusing to negotiate on a budget fix until the Democrats agree to some of his “turnaround agenda” demands, like workers’ compensation insurance reform, a property tax freeze, legislative term limits and tort reform.
So when does the crisis begin? That’s debatable.
Does it start in the next few days, as the governor finally gets a chance to act on the budget, which the Democrats passed in May but didn’t officially begin transmitting to him until June 17?
Does it begin June 30? That’s when the Chicago Public Schools would miss a required $634 million payment to the teacher retirement plan if a pension fix continues to be caught in the crossfire between the governor and Democrats. If a budget deal isn’t reached, state spending starts grinding to a halt the next day.
Does it happen in mid-July, when the first state employee payroll can’t be met because there is no appropriations authority?
Does the crisis occur in mid-August, when public schools don’t receive their first state aid checks and many can’t open their doors?
Or has it already begun? More…