Good grief! GOP said to finally see comical Dem strategy
Playing political football with the "grand bargain" budget is a Democratic strategy to keep Republicans in the General Assembly in a super-minority while at the same time not getting blamed for raising taxes, the CEO of a conservative think tank said.
"It's just amazing to me how much this is like Lucy and the football," Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman said on an edition of the Chicago-based radio talk show "Illinois Rising." "You know, with Charlie Brown, and Lucy holds it there and holds it there and pulls it away every time. This was just another attempt at that."
Illinois Rising is hosted by Dan Proft who is a principal in LGIS (Local Government Information Services), which owns this publication.
The greatest fear of Springfield Democrats is that they will have to take responsibility for a budget that includes huge tax increases, Tillman said.
"And they will own it because they have control of both chambers," he said. "They can pass anything they want. This idea that you need Republican votes to pass anything out of the House or the Senate is ridiculous, and that the Republicans have allowed that narrative to develop and settle is a failure of strategy and communication."
Tillman said at the beginning of the show that the opinions he expressed were his own and not those of the Illinois Policy Institute.
The aforementioned budget agreement announced earlier this year by Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) has been criticized for being short on reform and long on taxes. Proposals being floated include an almost 5 percent increase in the state's income tax, a 9.75 percent corporate tax increase and new taxes on services, business payroll, internet streaming services and sugary drinks.
Conservative lawmakers in Springfield have tried to put their own ideas into bills. On April 4, Sens. Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorne Woods) and Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) co-sponsored SB989, or what the pair call the "taxpayers bargain," which contains their own series of bills to balance the state's budget without tax increases but with significant cuts, cost reductions and reforms.
"McCarter and McConchie did great work," Tillman said. "I say that liberally because a lot of their proposal is based on the work of the Illinois Policy Institute. They also have some of their own innovative ideas. It's a good blend of some thoughts that they had, and they've shown real leadership, I think, in putting a marker down."
Tillman said SB989 has been largely ignored by most news outlets and currently sits in the Assignments Subcommittee on the Constitution and Redistricting, but he sees it as courageous and long overdue.
"That's a good step in the right direction," he said. "And the reason that opening came is because the grand bargain has fallen apart because some Republicans finally learned that this was actually a Democrat strategy to keep them in the super minority-forever."
As more Republicans figure that out, Democrats are left with their greatest fear, Tillman said.
"What the Democrats understand is that they don't want to take the negative hit for the effect of a tax hike," he said. "They want it to be bipartisan -- let's all get along, kumbaya. They want the governor to be the biggest tax-hiking governor in the history of the state, and they want the Senate to provide him with a bipartisan solution that comes out of the House so he is positioned as the Republican governor that 'a,' signed the biggest tax hike in history in a bipartisan fashion, or 'b,' he's so crazy he won't even go along with his Republican colleagues who signed off on this biggest tax hike in history. Either way, it's heads I win, tails you lose."