In his weekly column published last Sunday, Rich Miller, publisher of CapitolFax.com wrote:
“I had written on my blog a few days earlier that if voters are looking for a check on J.B. Pritzker and Speaker Madigan and they can’t bring themselves to vote for Gov. Rauner, she [Erika Harold] might be a realistic option.”
With all due respect to Rich and to Ms. Harold, whom I wholeheartedly support, the real check on the excesses of Illinois’ government isn’t the office of Attorney General.
The real check on a Governor Pritzker (or a Governor Rauner, for that matter) and Speaker Madigan will come only if the Republicans can maintain or grow their numbers in the House.
As we enter the last week before the November election, it would be well to remember exactly what’s at stake for Illinois and who stands the best chance of assuring that there is at least one body in state government that stands against the worst of whatever happens, regardless of who’s elected Governor.
The Democrat in the race has shown himself to be nothing more than someone who says he’ll raise taxes on “the rich” (defined as anyone other than the group he happens to be pandering to at that particular time). Have you heard him talk about using that new money to pay down our mountain of unpaid bills and pension debt? Hell, no. All we hear is promises to spend all that new money on programs and agencies that need housecleaning and responsible oversight before they get a dime of new money.
Then consider the raft of bills that Republicans were able to kill in the last session by denying them veto-proof majorities. I mean, do you want a state-mandated $15 per hour minimum wage? A government-run workers’ compensation company that will be funded by borrowing 10 million of your tax dollars? Making a resolution by a local government objecting to the state’s prevailing wage law a criminal offense?
All that stood between legislative sanity and those bills becoming law were House Republicans who drove down the vote for the minimum wage (61-53), upheld the veto of the workers’ comp bill (65-50) and the prevailing wage bill (70-42). Do you think a Governor Pritzker would veto any of those bills? Not likely.
Republicans in the House held the line on those and many other bills which would make Illinois an even bigger economic clown car than it is now. Without a majority, we won’t even be able to do that.
Republicans need to pick up nine seats in the House to claim the Speaker’s gavel. Otherwise, we won’t be able to stop the three bills referenced above, and you can be certain that they’ll be re-introduced in the next session, along with any number of other measures that will spring from the fevered minds of people who think that money grows on trees.
With the 2020 census coming up, nothing determines the composition of the House and Senate more than the electoral map, the boundaries of which are drawn by the General Assembly. If you don’t want Mike Madigan’s map being rubber-stamped by a Democratic Governor, this is reason enough to vote for a Republican-controlled House. The map is everything, because Illinois can’t survive another decade of undisputed Democratic control in Springfield.
No matter who’s elected Governor in 2018, this state is in trouble. We’ve endured nearly 4 years of dysfunction (actually, closer to 40), and there’s a strong likelihood that the next 4 won’t be any better, regardless of whether the next Governor is named Rauner or Pritzker.
Abraham Lincoln once said that “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” This campaign has been an object lesson in evasion. Regardless of who you vote for as Governor, please make sure that we end up with an adult in the room. Put Republicans in charge of the Illinois House.