UPDATE: Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan announced today that he’s scheduled a House vote on Gov. Rauner’s anti-middle class “right to work” proposal for Thursday, May 14.

IEA President Cinda Klickna released the following statement:

“Next Thursday, the Illinois General Assembly can tell Governor Rauner to drop his attack on the middle class and start focusing on our state’s real problems.

Despite his proposal’s repeated failure to be adopted by local governments statewide, the  governor has refused to acknowledge that “right to work” is an idea no one wants that is intended to address a problem Illinois does not have.  Lawmakers can end this charade next Thursday.

We urge the members of the House to say with a loud voice that “right to work” is wrong for middle class families and wrong for Illinois.

By voting no, on “right to work” lawmakers can tell Gov. Rauner to get back to work by sitting down with the legislative leaders to develop real solutions to the very real problems of our state.”


As his endless campaign for the “Turnaround Agenda,” with its “empowerment zones” (aka right to work) continues to be panned by cities and villages around the state, Governor Rauner’s belief system is being challenged.

He’s likely surprised to be meeting so much resistance. He probably assumed that his scheme to weaken unions (thereby lowering middle-class wages and working conditions) would be embraced up by the communities that voted for him.

But he’s finding out that, while everyone believes Illinois can and should do better, Illinoisans aren’t willing to cut their neighbor’s throats to make the governor happy.

They are rejecting his plan to weaken unions because they understand that, while Illinois has lots of problems, unions aren’t among them.

Oh, and the Turnaround Agenda would be bad for the Illinois economy.

The governor sought the opportunity to talk about his agenda on Wednesday to the Chicago City Council, but, as Mark Brown in the Sun-Times noted, it wasn’t really an attempt to persuade.

The best I can come up with is that it was all a big show intended to further the legend of the gutsy new Republican governor who isn’t afraid to speak truth to power, even if it requires a visit to that sinister lair of Chicago Democrats.


But this was not a visit from someone looking for common ground, but instead to politely deliver his my-way-or-the-highway message.

The aldermen were not impressed or intimidated by the rare appearance of a sitting governor at a city council meeting.

Yet immediately before Rauner’s appearance, the council unanimously approved a resolution calling Rauner’s right-to-work proposal an “attack on established laws” that has the “potential to dismantle labor organizations.”

“It’s not a step backward,” said Ald. Timothy Cullerton (38th). “It’s a leap backward to the Dark Ages.”

Message to Bruce Rauner: Governors don’t have clout in Chicago politics. Especially unpopular governors.

At the same time Chicago was ignoring the governor, his harsh human services budget, which he presented months ago, was called for a vote in the Illinois House.

What kind of support was there for the governor’s plan to cut services for autistic children, homeless people and others in need.

As the sometimes folksy governor might say, he got “nuttin.”

So, we’re into May and the governor is still spending his time and energy pushing his Turnaround Agenda.

During his campaign, Rauner liked to describe himself as “nobody that nobody sent.”

Now he’s the guy pushing a plan almost nobody likes.

Meanwhile, even some of the people who thought electing Bruce Rauner was a good idea are telling him it’s time to get real, start thinking outside of his ideological box, and focus on adding revenue instead of slashing human service programs.

In a 78-page report, the Civic Federation’s Institute for Illinois’ Fiscal Sustainability officially opposed Rauner’s spending plan and urged lawmakers to come up with an independent proposal that expands sales taxes, considers taxing non-Medicare retirement income over $50,000, and ramps up the state’s income tax on corporations and individuals.

The group said Rauner’s budget would cut services that ultimately would prove more costly to the state in the long run.

It also panned Rauner’s proposal to cut back local government’s share of state revenue.

Illinoisans expect the governor to propose realistic solutions to the state’s real problems.

We’re waiting.

UPDATE: Apparently, Speaker Madigan has tired of waiting. 

The Speaker is planning a vote on the Rauner “right to work” proposal for next Thursday, May 14.