More Madigan-Generated Woes Expected for Illinois, Editorial Board Says

Written by Carol Ostrow

Even as Gov. Bruce Rauner continues to strive toward a potential state budget solution, House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) “delays and offers nothing,” the Chicago Tribune recently reported while continuing its coverage of Illinois’ hemorrhaging finances.

Editors at the newspaper have bemoaned the probability that the ringing in of the spring legislative session means “still more menacing news to Illinois,” stating that the newest proof of systemic breakdown lies neither in the impotent stopgap spending plan, nor in the recent mass outmigration from the Land of Lincoln, where population losses recently exceeded those of any other state.

Instead, according to the Tribune — or consequently — the greatest cause for alarm now rests in the strong possibility that Illinois could lose seats in the U.S. Congress following the next national census in 2020.

“Not one but two seats,” editors said.

Of all 50 states in the nation, Illinois endured the largest population last year, according to the latest U.S. Census figures. Moreover, Illinois remains the only state in the entire Midwest to experience a population decline for the third consecutive year.

Three-quarters of a century ago, Illinois held 27 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives; that has dwindled to 18, representing a 33 percent drop.

According to Chicago-based political news and polling data aggregator RealClearPolitics (RCP), if a census were to be conducted right now, Illinois would immediately forfeit another seat and maintain only 17 representatives. RCP’s analysts said that, in the hypothetical scenario, Illinois would be one of only four states nationwide to lose at least one seat in the House. Furthermore, if the migration pattern continues to persist, there is a strong possibility of a reduction to 16 seats when 2020 data is collected.

“That’d be two fewer House members voting with national Democrats or Republicans, two fewer U.S. reps advocating for Illinois, two fewer politicians bringing home the bacon,” the editors said.

Meanwhile, in real time, Tribune staffers didn’t have to reach too far or too deep into their records to touch on the most troubling issues surrounding current events, largely owed to Illinois’ long-lasting, controversial speaker and his accomplices.

Related to this are problems that stem from exceeding revenue with expenditures; borrowing copiously to deepen debt or “unfunded obligations”; the ensuing financial fiascos; the Chicago Public Schools crisis; the pension and union stalemates; and the list goes on.

Clearly frustrated with the atmosphere of denial in Springfield, staff did not hesitate to openly castigate Madigan as the New Year approaches with no solutions on the horizon. Citing “more failure, more gridlock,” editors were forced to recapitulate what has already been made clear: nothing has changed.

Rauner continues to work for Illinois, and Tribune staff continue to remind readers that “Madigan remains in denial that angry voters who wanted change in Springfield elected Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.”

Each time Illinois’ political atmosphere is clarified by observers, the Madigan machine appears to dig in deeper.

In conclusion, the Tribune suggested that Madigan can see imminent perils as well as anyone; whether he chooses to address them, however, is another question.

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