What did he mean by that? Lawmakers debate phrase from Rauner's speech

  • Gov. Bruce Rauner says he wants to work with lawmakers but that his proposals are a package deal.

    Gov. Bruce Rauner says he wants to work with lawmakers but that his proposals are a package deal. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 2/6/2015 5:31 AM

Gov. Bruce Rauner's opener for his State of the State address Wednesday offered lawmakers a partnership to work with him, "solving problems together, listening and learning from each other."

But just before he listed his priorities, from freezing property taxes to pairing a minimum wage hike with business regulation changes, he introduced them as a package deal.

 

"We should consider it as a whole -- not as a list of individual initiatives," the Winnetka Republican said. "We must choose to see the big picture -- an overall package -- that will lift up all of the people we've been chosen to represent."

Does that mean the list of priorities is an all or nothing deal for lawmakers, with no room for compromise?

DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin doesn't see it that way. He was picked by Rauner to help lead a local government consolidation effort.

Cronin said the governor has to put out all his ideas and try to get as much of it done as he can.

"You come out of the box, you put everything on the table," Cronin said.

The other side

State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat, sees it differently. She said she heard from several other members of her party about that line.

"That phrase fell very hard on my ears, actually," she said.

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Rauner has worked in the three months since his election to say he wants to negotiate with lawmakers to get things done, but portraying his ideas as a package deal seems to go against the idea of compromise, she said.

"If that's what he meant, he could have said it differently," she said.

Rauner has more than $20 million in his campaign fund ready to try to to advance his agenda. But Democrats won't roll over.

Case in point: Rauner Wednesday called for bipartisanship. On Thursday, Senate Democrats approved a minimum wage hike proposal that's more aggressive than the governor's plans.

Deep breaths

Here's what Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont said: "I don't think he's saying all or nothing, I think he's saying recognize that the good is going to have to be taken with the bad."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Everybody needs to just take a deep breath," she said. "Every single legislator has an interest in creating jobs, whether they're Republican or Democrat, downstate or suburban, they want jobs in the state and they want our financial condition stabilized."

Intercepted

The day after the Seattle Seahawks lost the Super Bowl following their stunning failed pass play, U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, a Wheaton Republican, compared President Barack Obama's budget to the Seahawks' widely panned loss.

His office sent out a news release entitled "Second and Goal and the President Calls for a Pass."

"His plan to add $8.5 trillion dollars to our debt and $2.1 trillion in new taxes to pay for short-term benefits is possibly the worst play call we've seen since he first got elected," Roskam said in the statement.

But ...

Obama's budget plan requested for the first time money that could be used to clean up radioactive thorium from the former Kerr-McGee plant site in West Chicago.

That doesn't mean more money is coming immediately, but it could foreshadow some federal help for the project in the future.

Remembering Spellman

State Sen. Matt Murphy, a Palatine Republican, has introduced a resolution in the Illinois Senate honoring Mike Spellman, the widely beloved Daily Herald sports writer who died earlier this month on the day before his 51st birthday.

Murphy said he got to know Spellman over the years through Murphy's brother, a former classmate of Spellman's.

"He was just a really great guy, and I feel like he deserved it," Murphy said.

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