Wisconsin and Ohio blazed the trail. Massachusetts is inching down the same path. And now, the Badger State's dysfunctional southern neighbor is reluctantly jumping aboard the train to fiscal sanity. Savor, Governors Walker and Kasich. Savor:
Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn today defended his efforts to limit collective bargaining rights for thousands of state employees, saying his proposal is a balanced approach aimed at ensuring a separation between rank-and-file workers and upper managers. Quinn is pushing Senate lawmakers to vote on the plan when they return to Springfield on Wednesday. House lawmakers signed off on the idea earlier this year, but support is low among Senate Democrats.
Quinn's office argues the move would save the state money and make government more efficient, saying the bill would apply to high-level management positions such as attorneys, legislative liaisons and deputy chiefs of staffs for state agencies. The idea is to prevent situations where there is no clear leadership at state facilities because all the workers are union members and managers can't discipline employees under them.
Newsflash: Union leaders are none too pleased. How long until we start hearing crazed invective directed at "Adolf Quinn"?
But labor officials say the bill would unfairly strip workers of their right to representation, and argue it's not just limited to leadership positions, but lower-level workers, too. They've drawn comparisons to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's efforts to limit unions in that state, a likening Quinn calls "completely unfair."
Quinn's proposal is far less ambitious than Wisconsin's new law, but it's still progress. Then again, baby steps aren't going to fix the state's nearly unparalleled fiscal train wreck. Beyond the high taxes and vanishing businesses, how bad are things in the Prairie State? This bad:
Illinois' chief fiscal officer said Monday he is willing to dial up the bond houses and finance companies to alert them that lending the state more money, as Gov. Pat Quinn has proposed, would be a "major risk."
'If I need to send letters o the rating companies to tell them the treasurer of Illinois is opposed to more borrowing, I'm going to do that," said Republican Treasurer Dan Rutherford. [A] backlog of unpaid bills will reach $8 billion by July, Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka recently estimated. Rutherford says the debt from past borrowing has soared to $45 billion in recent years, which amounts to $10,000 for every household in the state. As a result, Illinois has the second-worst credit rating in the nation, above only California, he added.
Parting thought: If even Illinois is curbing government workers' collective bargaining "rights," where else will future sniveling fleebaggers seek refuge?