Brian's Column 03-04-2016

Unwillingness to Compromise

This past week was the last scheduled day of session for an entire month.  Yes, I said an entire month. The next session day scheduled is for Monday, April 4th.  You are probably thinking with that long of a break we must have solved all the states problems; not exactly.  Did we solve the budget crisis No.  Did we vote on meaningful reforms to help alleviate some of the mounting financial pressures No.  Did we do anything that is going to make things better today than yesterday? No, we did none of the above.

As the Speaker of the House was ready to call for adjournment on Thursday evening, neighboring State Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) stood to make a motion to not adjourn so that we could continue to work on the budget.
After deliberating behind the podium for around five minutes, the Speaker replied that Rep. Demmer’s motion was “out of order” and thus proceeded to rapidly adjourn, denying the opportunity to debate the motion.  The Speaker and staff behind the podium literally ran out the door.

How can we solve the budget crisis if we are not scheduled to be in Springfield and the Democrats refuse to stay?  I have been getting hundreds upon hundreds of emails, phone calls and visits to m office pleading for me and all of the other legislators to find a compromise to solve the budget crisis. My Republican colleagues and my attempt to do just that was flat out denied by one person’s rules.  If the rhetoric all the House Democrats are constantly spewing about the Governor delaying this process were true, don’t you think they would want to be in Springfield trying to find a compromise instead of going on vacation for an entire month?

Not one Democrat legislator stood up in support of Rep. Demmer’s motion.  They all brushed off his statement with their usual Super Majority smug smiles, happily strutting back to their districts believing the political partisan appropriation bills that they voted yes on were going to solve all the problems of the state.  We are not the federal government and we cannot print more money whenever we have to deal with a tough financial problem.  Saying you voted for MAP grants, funding higher education and critical state services without a funding mechanism or a way to pay for it is taking the easy way out.

We have to come together, discuss our options, give and take and then present a bill that has ideas from both Democrats and Republicans.  Instead of following that process, the Democrats have continued to introduce and sponsor legislation under their own name and then call it the “Governor’s Budget” or the “Republicans legislative ideas.” It’s absolutely condescending and unprofessional. The political games must end.

I was proud to welcome both the Pecatonica and Scales Mound High School students to the Springfield Capitol Building for the Future Farmers of America (FFA) Legislative Day.  Each year these students and many others come down and meet with legislators to share what they do and why it is important.  I appreciate each one of you for coming by my office and look forward to working with you in the future on Illinois’ agriculture issues.  Also visiting was a local group from the district in support of A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education (A.B.A.T.E.) of Illinois during their Legislative Day in Springfield.  Thank you for stopping by the office!

The word being thrown around this budget crisis is compromise.  It seems like such a simple concept. Two parties who cannot agree on an issue both give a little to find common ground in agreement. This term has been falsely defined multiple times during this budget impasse.  I want to make sure people understand what compromise is and what it takes to get the job done.  As mentioned earlier, my fellow colleague and neighboring State Representative, Tom Demmer, gave a meaningful definition of compromise on the House floor this week that I want to share. “A compromise is not a product; it is not a piece of paper that we point to.  A compromise is a process.  A compromise requires conversation, negotiation, give and take.  A compromise requires the willingness to actually work together.”  I am tired of the Speaker’s unwillingness to do anything that remotely resembles compromise.  Adjourning for an entire month while the state’s most vulnerable people are hurting speaks for itself.