Rich Miller On Government

A Springfield observer's wish list for the state's power players

Just in case the governor, the speaker of the House and a few others haven't drafted their own New Year's resolutions yet.

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It's a new year and a new decade, so here are my New Year's resolution suggestions for our state's leaders.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker: 79彩票注册网址Please, no more pension gimmicks that you'll only end up distancing yourself from. Last year, you proposed skimping on the state's pension contributions, only to drop the idea when unexpected revenues appeared in the spring. Yes, pension payments eat up a huge portion of the state's budget, but if, as you often say, pensions are a promise, then you have to put state money where your mouth is to make sure pensioners are paid.

You ended the 2019 spring legislative session by passing several strong bipartisan bills, including a massive transportation and infrastructure program. Keep that up. This state regularly elects Democrats from the Chicago area, but there are plenty of suburban and downstate Republicans here, too, and you're governor of all the people. Yes, elections have consequences and even with all the bills you passed last year you still have a few unfulfilled progressive campaign promises, but at least listen to input from all who are willing to come to the table.

House Speaker Michael Madigan: You got out of the new governor's way and actually helped him at times last year. You did the same with Rod Blagojevich in 2003, but you picked a huge fight with him in 2004 that produced a long and nasty overtime session. Don't do that again. The feds are actively snooping around you and your organization. What you need now are friends, not enemies. Make peace, stay low and forget about patronage requests for a while. Legislation, not transactions.

Senate president: Nobody knows yet who will replace retiring Senate President John Cullerton, but those are some big shoes to fill. That caucus is far more diverse than it looked under Cullerton's leadership, but he kept his members united, and he did it without intimidation. His successor will bring his or her own style to office, but whoever it is should remember that this is like buying a successful restaurant: Make improvements where needed, but don't radically alter the menu right away.

Illinois AFL-CIO:79彩票注册网址 The easiest way to pass a bill last year was to line up union support. After four years of the union-hating Gov. Bruce Rauner, majority Democrats, particularly in the House, allowed nothing to pass over labor's opposition. Illinois AFL-CIO President Mike Carrigan was as close as could be to Madigan before retiring in December. The new president, Tim Drea, will likely be tested by Madigan, but the balance of power is shifting toward the governor's office. Drea has inherited a successful organization, but times are changing on him. Stay fully aware at all times.

House and Senate Republicans: 79彩票注册网址The Republicans, particularly in the House, did a pretty good job of extracting concessions from the Democratic governor late in the spring session. They ended up getting more done for business interests in one month than the pro-business Rauner did in four years. If the two caucuses had worked together more closely, however, they would've done a much better job. So, set aside your differences, because you're all you have.

Business interests: 79彩票注册网址Business was steamrolled by the governor's minimum wage bill last year, partly because the groups didn't begin to work it early enough. The governor brags more about his pro-business accomplishments than almost anything else, so use that to your advantage and engage early and in good faith. The Democratic reality is what it is, at least for a few more years. You can either shout at the wind or get in there and win some concessions for business owners.

Me: Drink more water, get more rest and listen more to my mother.

Crain's contributor Rich Miller publishes Capitol Fax and .

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