Dems called on to end Madigan's reign as House speaker
“If America is two countries, Illinois is two states,” the Peoria Journal Star said recently in an editorial, censuring House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and attributing the state’s “abysmal” financial status to continued ineptitude and duplicity in the General Assembly.
Describing the Land of Lincoln as a blue boat in a red sea — referring to the metropolitan Chicago hub — the publication attributed the color-coded dichotomy to Illinois’ “incompetent and not uncommonly corrupt Springfield, against which every other state capital can compare itself favorably.”
The editorial said that while Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger did not retain her post in the November general election, Madigan did forfeit his supermajority in the General Assembly.
“In an Illinois where Democrat Hillary Clinton ran away with the vote for president, Republicans picked up four seats, net, in the (state) House while adding two in the state Senate,” the Journal Star said. Hence, the heavily Democratic legislature can no longer easily override any veto from GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner's on income tax hikes, for example.
While Rauner acknowledged that Illinois cannot overcome its difficulties without some kind of tax increase, the Journal Star agreed with his view that such action must be preceded by structural reform, and that it would be “fundamentally unfair to ask Illinoisans to pony up ever more from their shrinking wallets without addressing the drivers of its debt and dysfunction first.”
Madigan himself interpreted the election results to mean that voters opposed Rauner’s agenda, prompting the publication to say that “Madigan is evidently content with his sorry legacy.”
Noting the sharp distinction between Madigan’s view and the Rauner’s tone, the Journal Star also observed Madigan’s curious absence from a scheduled meeting with Rauner and Republican leaders at the beginning of the General Assembly's veto session.
“Ultimately, we've given up on Madigan,” the editorial said. “In short, another vote from House Democrats for Madigan as their speaker really is not defensible. Their constituents locally should let them know that.”