images/stories/2015/Budget.2015.jpgLast week, the Springfield politicians completed fixes to this year’s state budget in such a "matter of fact” manner, the media hardly noticed. That budget fix provided for filling a revenue gap of $1.3 billion for this year’s budget, which was created when the temporary state income tax increase ended in January of this year.

The Chicago media would have hoped for this scenario: The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and Senate sends the new Republican governor a budget fix that is loaded with new taxes and new programs. Gov. Bruce Rauner refuses to sign the budget and Illinois is deadlocked, closed down, on the brink of disaster and everyone is packing their bags to move into another state!!! Great media stories to be sure.

Instead, your elected leaders of both parties listened to the voters and took action to fix the immediate problem. The budget repair came in the form of budget cuts. That is right — budget cuts and transferring excess funds long protected by special interests. Sounds like reform, change or cooperation? It is. Most of all, both parties worked out the problem without fanfare, melodrama or hyperbole.

Elected representatives from both parties agreed to move from their immovable positions and meet somewhere in the middle. Was everyone happy with the results? No, not at all. In fact, Republican Leader Christine Radogno noted the hardships it might create, but said it was "a small but significant step to progress.”

Governor Rauner, who worked with both Speaker Mike Madigan and President John Cullerton, seemed to find some accommodation with the Springfield establishment. He thanked them for their co-operation after the bill was passed.

What this means for the future is that the first steps in bipartisan co-operation were taken. It came with barely any notice and the results were a strong message from our elected leaders. Will next year’s budget be an easy task? Absolutely not. The job will become hard, tempers will flare, patience will be lacking. The media in their glee will pounce upon every cross word spoken, only to inflame the situation. In the end, however, we must continually focus on our past success as the pathway to the solution.

Since many won’t say it, I will. Kudos to Governor Rauner and Speaker Madigan for leading the effort on the current budget corrections. Kudos to Republican leaders Rodgano and James Durkin for delivering the Republican side. And finally, kudos to President Cullerton who delivered the final victory with only a few votes to spare. Our Democratic system worked as it was designed. Those "politicians” actually did the job, but hardly anyone noticed.

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