Thursday, February 5, 2015

Rauner's dream: A state with no unions and more charters

Gov. Rauner used yesterday's State of the State speech to officially declare war on the state's working people and on public schools. His first order of business was calling for Illinois to join states like Mississippi and Alabama as union-free zones and for the banning of political contributions from teachers and other public employee unions. He then promised to cut workers' comp, unemployment benefits and to push for more privately run charter schools.

The Tribune reports:
The rookie chief executive and venture capitalist put his official stamp on proposals to let communities vote on right-to-work zones where jobs are scarce, scale back workers' compensation, rein in lawsuit damage awards and lower unemployment insurance rates.
 Gregory Baise, the president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, said the business community is upbeat for the first time in a long time. Now, he said, lawmakers must give the governor's pro-business bills consideration.
Rauner, Madigan & Cullerton
No surprise there. But what may have stunned some union leaders was how easily the gov's anti-labor mantra was gulped down by the state's Democratic Party leadership.
 House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, did not summarily dismiss the Rauner proposals. "I wouldn't characterize anything as a non-starter," he said. "I agree with the governor that the state of Illinois needs a lot of work, a lot of attention."
The New York Times noted that:
 The reaction from Democrats, who control the state legislature, was remarkably muted, not dismissing the governor’s ideas out of hand.
Remember, Rauner can't get anything through the legislature without Democrat support. And if recent pension-theft legislation pushed by Madigan, Cullerton and Quinn is any indication, this won't be as difficult as some might have guessed.

Pushing so-called right-work-legislation is now the favorite tactic of right-wing politicians and their Koch Bros. patrons.

Let's see how Dems and public employee unions respond.

If you want to get down to the essentials of Rauner's agenda, look no further than his shutting down 30 social-service and youth-training organizations this week, along with a proposal to hire more prison guards. 

Get it?


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.