Michael Madigan was re-elected to Illinois House on January 11, making him its leader for the 17th time. This event has put him in spitting distance of being the longest serving speaker in the State House in modern American history. Madigan has promised to formulate a solution to end the ongoing budget stalemate in the state. This budget fracas has been continuing for about two years now. The Legislature led by the Democrats has tasted failure in its attempt to get a budget deal with Bruce Rauner, the Republican Governor.
Madigan, the steel faced Democratic speaker has wielded the gavel for about 32 years. In case he achieves the completion of his two year term, he will surpass a record set by a Democrat in South Carolina. The latter’s record was set in the 1900s. Post re-election, it was suggested by Madigan that the state can get out of its doldrums by making the economy better and not hurting its middle class citizenry in the process.
There are signs that the Democrats are ready to patch up with the Republicans. The Democrat nominated Senate voted unanimously when it came to restrict the tenure of leaders to 10 years. It is the first time, this chamber has taken this initiative.
This move came post the opponents cooperated to reintroduce a stack of legislation which was negotiated in December 2016 and January to push budget talks. The list of measures include an increase of income tax, minimum wage rise, and closing corporate tax loopholes. Rauner has insisted on freezing the rate of property tax. He has also urged the reduction of compensation paid to workers.
The Senate has imposed term rules. The House does not come under its purview. However, it constitutes one part of the agreement between Christine Radogno, the Republican leader and John Cullerton, the Democratic Senate President. The latter was incidentally elected to his fifth term. Both hope that this will break impasse with Rauner. The Republican governor who is in his first term, has insisted on political and business climate changes, term limits being included, as part of budget agreement. The agreement most likely will be inclusive of an increase in the income tax. This will hopefully decrease the massive amount of debt. It was promised by Radogno that the future constitutional amendment will have term limits. It will be sent to voters. If the latter agrees, then it will be sent to both Senate and the House.