Hmmm. Remember Linda Lingle? Yes, Hawaii’s Linda Lingle.
Back at the beginning of 2015, she signed on as a consultant, and chief operating officer, for newly elected Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Rainer, with Lingle in tow, lost little time in that he would be tying a number of non-money items into his proposed state budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
According to a New York Times summary:
Mr. Rauner has tied passage of the budget to changes in workers’ compensation and collective bargaining rights for unionized public employees, measures that he says will help revive the Illinois economy and bring in much-needed revenue. Democratic Party leaders in the state reject those suggestions, saying that the governor is making demands that are unrelated to the budget.
And this in a state where Democrats hold super-majorities in both houses of the State Legislature.
According to Politico:
…Rauner’s agenda was nearly dead on arrival in the Democratic-controlled legislature—it includes such nonstarters for Democrats as tort reform, workers compensation reform, term limits, redistricting reform, and, first and foremost, collective bargaining curbs on public employee unions. The curbs would give local governments, including school boards, the right to decide if they want to collectively bargain with workers and which benefits should be on the table.
The budget should have gone into effect on July 1, but the governor and legislature didn’t reach a deal. And the state is still operating without a budget as we hit the end of 2015.
Meanwhile, after several courts ordered that public employees continue to be paid despite the budget impasse, the administration has been borrowing to pay its bills.
The Huffington Post reported on a recent speech by House Speaker Michael Madigan, where he spoke about the state’s budget crisis.
Here’s an excerpt of Madigan’s speech, as reported by the Huffington Post:
This goes right to the heart of the difference of opinion between myself and the governor. .. The history of the American government prior to 1933 was pretty much to remain out of the business of managing the economy. The beginning of 1933 with the administration of Franklin Roosevelt, there was a dedicated effort by the federal government to in effect manage the economy and to work always to create jobs, to raise wages, to raise the standard of living. That has obtained through both Democrat and Republican administrations. … That’s been the policy of this country for all of these years and that’s where I say I don’t think any government should be in the business of lowering wages and the standard of living. The responsibility upon the government is to move in the opposite direction. To do what the government can do and do well – raise wages on a continuing basis and maintain a good standard of living for everybody in the country.
Among those hardest hit by the budget stalemate have been social service agencies, who are not being paid and are having to suspend staff and programs as reserves are depleted, and the clients they work with across the state of Illinois.
Steve Brown, spokesman for the House Speaker, had a bit to say about Lingle, according to Politico.
— Brown suggested — and we’ve heard whispers of this in the past — that Lingle’s hiring had something to do with ties to a close Rauner adviser and strategist Nick Ayers and “dark money” that flowed from groups tied to him and attacked Lingle opponents. Background on that here: http://bit.ly/1RSlisr. Ayers is a Georgia-based political operative and past head of the Republican Governors Association.
— Ayers’ Target Enterprises, which handles campaign ads, was one of the biggest payees during Rauner’s record-breaking, $65 million campaign for governor.
— An audience member asked Brown what evidence he’s seen of her work in the Legislature: Brown said so far she organized a parade for the state fair.
Well, perhaps the least fortunate are taking the brunt of cutbacks, but Lingle was in line to be paid nearly $200,000 annually. However, it isn’t clear whether the lack of a new state budget has delayed implementing her new position and salary.
Here’s what an Illinois newspaper reported back in May 2015:
The former governor of Hawaii is making more money as an aide to Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner than she did when she oversaw the Aloha State.
Rauner’s office, along with payroll records filed this week by the Illinois comptroller, show Linda Lingle will receive $60,000 for a state contract running from April to June. After that, she will go on the state payroll as an employee with an annual salary of $198,000.
In 2010, during her final of eight years as governor in Hawaii, Lingle was paid $117,306.
And so it goes for our former governor.