The Briefing, Vol. V, Issue 30

This week:

  • Republicans lead big in finance — but money isn’t everything
  • All but two of the GOP governors running for re-election are popular
  • McCain’s illness could add another Senate race to the 2018 calendar

Outlook

GOP fundraising: Whatever else you might say about the Trump era of the Republican Party, it has not been poor. At least not so far

With Democrats exhibiting the enthusiasm of their left-wing base in special elections (yet turning out no victories of significance), and with President Trump’s numbers plumbing new depths, Republicans are nonetheless outraising the opposition, big time.

The numbers for this year to date are striking: $75.4 million for the RNC, $38.2 million for the DNC. The Republicans’ main committee has set a new record for fundraising in a non-presidential year, blowing the doors off any previous cycle. With more than $10 million, it has also doubled up Democrats in contributions from small donors who give less than $200.

Concerns that Trump’s brash style or even his unpopularity in the polls would cause the donor class to abandon the party seem to have been vastly overstated.

There are many theories for the Democrats’ party committees failing to become the vehicle for the “resistance” and its enthusiasm. One is that so much money — including small-donor money — went into the special congressional election in Georgia’s Sixth District. Another is that the split within the party, between Bernie Sanders enthusiasts and Hillary Clinton supporters, endures and continues to fly behind the good ship Democrat like an albatross.

Even in the era of SuperPACs, party money remains important and plays a role. As Reince Priebus used to explain to crowds when he was RNC chairman, there are many things, including a sophisticated and centralized high-tech turnout operation, that the party must develop for itself, as it cannot be legally shared with the party committees by outside groups.

With all that said, it’s important to remember that money isn’t everything. Republicans can only take so much solace in fundraising numbers. Hillary Clinton dramatically outraised and outspent Donald Trump, after all. She’s now a Twitter celebrity and former first lady on the speaking circuit. He’s president.

More to the point, look to history. In 2006, the Republicans’ last midterm disaster, the three Republican party committees (the RNC, NRCC and NRSC) collectively outraised their Democratic counterparts, $792 million to just $602 million — roughly a 30 percent advantage in funds raised. It didn’t help the GOP avoid losing the House and Senate, or being completely shut out of power in 23 of 50 states.

In 2010, Democratic committees raised $817 million to Republicans’ $587 million and were crushed. In 2014, Democrats raised $854 million to Republicans’ $665 million yet lost badly anyway.

In each case, it really goes to show that when the people turn against you, for whatever reason, no amount of money can save you. Money can’t buy you love — or elections, despite what campaign finance cultists might claim.

Governor 2018

Next November, 36 of the nation’s 50 governorships will be up for election. This week, we survey the overall landscape and look at Republicans’ bids to hang on to governors’ mansions in the bluest of Blue States.

Morning Consult released its periodic survey of governors’ approval ratings last week, covering 49 of the 50 states. (Iowa, whose lieutenant governor just ascended to the governorship, was not included.) At the moment, all of the ten most popular governors are Republicans. Seven of the ten least popular are also Republicans. That’s not too odd, given that most in-cycle governors are Republicans after the blowout elections of 2010 and 2014.

Call it grade inflation if you like, but 34 of the nation’s 50 governors have positive job approvals. Of those, 22 are Republicans, and 19 of these govern states where there’s a gubernatorial election in 2018. Eleven of the Republicans with net-positive approval are actually running again (or in the cases of two unelected governors, running for the first time) in 2018.

There are also eight states where Republican governors are underwater, ranging from slightly so (Paul LePage and Susana Martinez, by one point) to hugely so (Sam Brownback and Chris Christie, by more than 40 points) in the Morning Consult surveys. Only two of these (Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Bruce Rauner of Illinois) are running for another term at this point.

Whether they are running or not, the popularity of a current GOP governor could well determine whether the voters of his or her state are willing to elect another.

This is especially important at a moment when Republicans dominate the nation’s governorships to a historically unusual degree. If the 2018 election is a real backlash election, as were the 2006, 2010 and 2014 elections, Republicans might have a lot to lose.

Blue States: The irony that the Republican governors of Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont are among the most popular in America is obvious. But the three races are not by any means the same. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Vermont Gov. Phil Scott are heavily favored. The race in Maryland will likely prove the most competitive — perhaps the only competitive one out of the three.

Gov. Larry Hogan’s popularity should not be mistaken for easy electability, although he clearly has a decent shot at re-election. Recall that in 2006, Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich had done most things right, but lost badly anyway, sucked under by an anti-Bush tide.

Still, Hogan has managed to do something unusual. He hasn’t shied away from big fights in Annapolis, but it’s nearly always been over obscure local issues, and he has fought in a conventional, mostly dignified manner (in sharp contrast to, say, LePage). He has avoided the major national hot-button topics that tend to get politicians into so much trouble. Hogan has also distanced himself from Trump, probably unavoidable in a state that voted against Trump nearly two to one.

Voters in Maryland seem to like Hogan’s approach so far, or at least that’s what they tell all the pollsters. But will they prefer his approach to a Democratic candidate, especially if it turns out to be someone like Rep. John Delaney, who represents the D.C. suburbs? So far, Delaney is clearly the most formidable opponent in a field that continues to grow. This week, the wife of Rep. Elijah Cummings, D, announced her candidacy.

Aside from Maryland, the most obvious Democratic pickup target in 2018 will be Illinois, where Democrats in the state legislature just rammed through a tax increase over Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto. The fallout from the bitter fight over the state budget could cut either way. Democrats have denied Rauner the ability to fix the state’s dire financial situation, and some voters may well blame him for the continued dysfunction and flight of population and businesses, which goes on in spite of his promises to fix the problems when he was first elected in 2014.

Senate 2018

Arizona: Whatever its other implications, the brain cancer diagnosis of Sen. John McCain, R, creates a possible scenario where there will be two seats up for election in 2018. If McCain retires and Gov. Doug Ducey appoints a successor, a special election would take concurrently with the re-election race of Sen. Jeff Flake, R, whom President Trump’s allies are already working to defeat in a primary.

Missouri: Attorney General Josh Hawley continues to play Hamlet about whether to run against Sen. Claire McCaskill, D. She is by far the most vulnerable Democratic senator, having won in 2018 only thanks to a self-destructing opponent whom she actually helped win the Republican primary. There are no signs this time that a bitter multi-way Republican primary could bring about a similar mishap, as nearly everyone seems ready to accept Hawley if he does ultimately jump in.

Nevada: President Trump confronted Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., in his health care meeting with GOP senators last week: “Look, he wants to remain a senator, doesn’t he?” Trump asked. “Okay. And I think the people of your state, which I know very well, I think they’re going to appreciate what you hopefully will do. Any senator who votes against starting debate is telling America you’re fine with Obamacare.”

Heller has only himself to blame for becoming the focal point of the health care debate. Had he simply committed to the repeal bill early on, he’d probably be facing less controversy, or controversy that is less widely noticed, at least. His Hamlet act over whether to vote for it has just increased the amount of negative attention he’s getting.

Democrats lining up to face him include Rep. Jacky Rosen (who has formally declared) and Rep. Dina Titus (who has not). The pre-primary posturing between the two hints at a behind-the-scenes battle over the influence of former Democratic Sen. Harry Reid over the state party, now that he’s out of the game himself.

Promises

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Do voters care about Russia?

The Briefing, Vol. V, Issue 29 – This week:

  • How much do voters care about Russia?
  • Can the issue save Democrats in Trump country?
  • Kid Rock for Senate? Yes, really.

Outlook

The Trump-Russia story was getting a bit tired. But it got a much-needed burst of energy last week after the story came out of Donald Trump, Jr.’s meeting last June.

The younger Trump and other senior Trump campaign staff agreed before the 2016 party convention to meet with a lawyer who, they were told, was bringing negative information on Hillary Clinton as part a Russian government attempt to help the candidacy of the younger Trump’s father.

The thing is, this doesn’t much help advance the theory of the grand conspiracy that had been alleged until now. In fact, it makes it seem a bit less likely — after all, if the Russian effort had to be explained and meetings set up by email in June 2016, after all the hacking had been done, then how likely is it that anything bigger was afoot?

Still, this is collusion, and that’s more than we had proof of before. But at least based on what’s emerged so far, it is not going to bring down the Trump administration. Even if it hurts Trump significantly in the long run, there doesn’t even seem to be a crime here. But from a political perspective, it definitely matters in more than one way.

Importantly, it seems to have guaranteed that the Democratic Party will be putting a lot of its eggs in the Trump-Russia basket for some time. This matches the will of the party’s grassroots and small-donor class. But it also comes against the advice of many progressives.

Many voices on the Left have argued that the focus on Russia is coming at the expense of Democrats articulating (for example) an economic vision (as seen in The Nation). Democratic House members, including Reps. Tim Ryan of Ohio and Tim Walz of Minnesota (who is running for governor) and Peter Welch of Vermont, complained after the recent string of special election defeats that their party and its leaders are losing sight of issues more relevant to voters in their home states and districts, where nobody is talking about Russia.

More immediately, news surrounding the current controversy over Senate Republicans’ again-delayed health care bill has been subordinated to the latest eruption of Trump-Russia stories.

So, are the Democratic naysayers right? So far, we have one media poll of President Trump’s approval rating since the story about Donald Jr.’s Russia meeting was first reported earlier this month. The Washington Post/ABC poll shows Trump dipping to 36 percent, from 42 percent approval….in April. But was this new break in the Russia story the reason for his loss of ground, mostly among independents? Or had he lost those six points earlier, for any of a number of other reasons? It’s very hard to say.

The Gallup Poll, which has tracked Trump’s approval daily since his inauguration, shows a similar decline in Trump’s ratings since April. But it also shows that his ratings have not moved far in the last month — it was 38 percent on June 15, and it was 38 percent again on July 15. The latest development in the Russia story does not seem to have mattered much here.

It’s still entirely possible that the Russia issue will be Trump’s undoing and the downfall of the Republican Party. But it is quite a gamble to pin one’s hopes on it, given the thin case for a Trump-Russia conspiracy that exists so far.

Will Russia save vulnerable Democratic senators in states Trump carried by large margins, like Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Montana and Indiana? This is where the critical Senate races of 2018 will be taking place — not inside the Beltway or in New York City.

Senate 2017

Alabama: For all the grief that Republican leaders have gotten for failing to offer sufficient support for President Trump, they are eagerly using him now. In an effort to help appointed Republican Sen. Luther Strange, they are dredging up one of his opponents’ criticisms of Trump from last year.

The Senate Leadership Fund, which is tied to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is attacking Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., for distrusting Trump during the 2016 primary (Trump won every county in Alabama and got 43 percent of the vote) and calling him a “serial adulterer” based on Trump’s own admissions in the past. Although Brooks has since warmed to Trump, his words could come back to haunt.

This special Senate election, scheduled for December 12, involves an unusual confrontation. The GOP establishment, which was cold toward Trump in 2016, is now treating Strange as an elected incumbent and fighting all primary challenges tooth and nail, and is happy to use Brooks’ anti-Trump comments as ammo against him now.

Senate 2016

Indiana: The local media have gobbled up the story about Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly’s family business outsourcing jobs to Mexico. This is especially damaging, coming as it does after Donnelly’s harsh criticism of Carrier for sending jobs to Mexico.

Indiana used to be much more open to voting Democratic. It seems less so now. After Hoosier voters turned down the popular former governor and senator Evan Bayh in 2016, Donnelly’s odds of re-election seem very long indeed. So far, Republican Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita seem like his most likely opponents in next year’s general election.

Michigan: So, can the writer and singer of “You’ve Never Met a Motherf—-r Like Me” become a U.S. Senator? Kid Rock –known in real life as Robert Ritchie —  apparently wants to find out. And don’t laugh. People once laughed at the idea of Donald Trump becoming president, after all. Kid Rock hopes to take on Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow next fall. Republicans have not won a Senate race in Michigan since 1994. However, Donald Trump did narrowly carry the state in 2016, and the audience for Kid Rock’s music is quite a bit like the one that voted for him.

According to his website, Kid Rock plays a show this week and will be touring until November.

Missouri: With Vice President Mike Pence actively lobbying him to run, newly elected Attorney General Josh Hawley, R, continues to play Hamlet. The Republican probably represents the GOP’s best chance against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill now that Rep. Ann Wagner has decided not to run, and others interested in the race have their plans on hold until he makes up his mind.

McCaskill is weak enough that Hawley might not have to run for the seat to flip. But he is the strongest recruit currently available, and it’s quite clear that the national party wants him in.

Governor 2018

Wisconsin: As Gov. Scott Walker runs for a third term, Wisconsinites will get at least a

(AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

brief look at something they haven’t really seen — a Democratic opposition candidate who unambiguously promises to repeal Act 10, Walker’s once-controversial union bargaining reform that has saved the state and local governments of Wisconsin billions of dollars since 2011. That candidate is businessman Andy Gronik.

It might come as a surprise that Mary Burke, Walker’s 2014 challenger, avoided adding such a plank to her own platform. By the time she ran against Walker, Act 10 had already become quite popular, and it remains so today. So far, Gronik is the first remotely serious Democratic candidate to officially enter the race, although several other Democrats are still considering a bid.

Lena Epstein Says She Will Kick Kid Rock’s Butt in Michigan U.S. Senate Primary

Kid Rock has garnered quite a bit of media attention the past few days for announcing he will run for U.S. Senate in Michigan and launching his website.

Third-generation co-owner of Vesco Oil Corporation and former Donald Trump Michigan State Co-Chair Lena Epstein announced her candidacy for the seat in May. She’s received a good deal of support from the contingent of voters that came out in support of Donald Trump, for defending the president and speaking out in favor of America First policies.

This week, she told the press and her supporters that she welcomes Kid Rock to the race. She just released a video titled, “Lena Epstein Welcomes Kid Rock 2 the Party.”

Epstein introduces herself to Kid Rock, and states she’s going to take the fight directly to Debbie Stabenow. She then makes things pretty clear she’s not fazed by the celebrity status he brings to the race when she says, “I might have to kick your butt in a primary first.”

Epstein also makes a proposal that they team up, travel the state together, and talk with voters about ending sanctuary cities, creating jobs, and rebuilding the American middle class, with pro-growth America First policies.

Only time will tell whether Kid Rock is serious about running for U.S. Senate and actually discussing these important issues. There are still a number of media outlets and voters that believe this is all just a publicity stunt.

It’s good to see the savvy businesswoman and gifted public speaker not only can articulate the issues, but is also capable of lightening the mood and having some fun with the prospect of Kid Rock running for public office.

There’s no doubt both of these political outsiders are committed to taking out career politician Debbie Stabenow. Here’s to hoping they hit the trail together and make life difficult for the Democrats.

 

Replace It?

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Speaker Tom Leonard and Conservatives in Michigan House Stand Strong Against “Good Jobs” Bills Despite Majority of Moderates Voting for it

Moderate Republicans and Democrats worked together to ram through the “Good Jobs” package in the Michigan House.

The legislation creates an incentive program that allows large corporations to keep a portion or all of the income taxes their new employees would otherwise pay to the state, if they are able to meet job creation and worker wage requirements.

On Wednesday, the package was passed by the Michigan House, 71-35.

Speaker Leonard and his leadership team deserve credit from supporters for opposing this policy that greatly grows the influence and our reliance on government. However, conservative grassroots activists across the state need to work hard to elect more conservatives in legislative races to stop bad legislation like this from passing in the future.

In total, 40 Republicans and 31 Democrats voted in favor of it. The Senate signed off on the House version, and the it will now go to Governor Snyder to sign.

Leaders of the House Workforce and Talent Development Committee, Republican Chairman Ben Frederick, and Democratic Minority Vice Chair Leslie Love, released a joint statement applauding approval of the legislation.

They claim the incentive plan will help Michigan compete against bordering states, including Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Leonard came out against the legislation early on. He had previously cancelled a vote on the package back in June.

This time around, 22 strong conservative Republicans in the House refused vote with their colleagues, and instead sided with Speaker Leonard in standing up against the legislation that benefits large corporations.

Republican Martin Howrylak said in a statement, “This is cronyism and corporate welfare. The average individual and small business taxpayer will be left holding the bag.”

Conservative organizations such as the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Americans for Prosperity, and the Michigan Freedom Fund also strongly opposed the legislation.

Leonard said he considers the bills “bad tax policy” that allows the government to pick economic winners and losers.

“I believe Senate Bills 242-244 are bad for Michigan, and I believe they are especially bad for the community that chose me as its representative,” he said a the statement. “However, a majority of my colleagues disagreed and chose to pursue these bills. I respect their opinion; I simply do not share it.”

Lena Epstein Defends President Trump

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Lena Epstein describes herself as an “unapologetic defender” of President Trump. In the wake news breaking that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer to get dirt on Hillary Clinton, it’s been reported that several top Republicans have distanced themselves from the situation.

But not Epstein, who supported Trump’s candidacy early on, and became a vocal surrogate for him during the campaign serving as state co-chair in Michigan.

She went on “Happening Now” to once again defend the President.

When asked whether Donald Trump Jr.’s emails confirm any election involvement with Russia, she replied it’s “speculative” to say there was any involvement.

Epstein also took a shot at the media for arguing about the source of the information, rather than covering the real story, what the Clinton Foundation was doing with the Russians, especially pertaining to Uranium One.

During the segment, Former DNC Official Pablo Manriquez accused the White House of lying to the American people, to which Epstein responded,

“We’re talking about something that happened during the campaign. I think it’s very important to keep our facts in order, and to not accuse people of being involved in lies. I think that’s very, very inappropriate and dangerous, and unfair to the American people.

In the end, this Russian lawyer had no affiliation with the Kremlin. The Kremlin confirmed that they had no affiliation with her. The information that she was wanting to bring forward, was very, very important ultimately for the American people.

The most important conversation for the American viewer, and the American citizen today is what was behind those discussions? We need to know the truth of the Clinton Foundation, of their role in Uranium One, that is at the heart of this discussion, not the source of the information.”

In closing, Epstein was again asked about any involvement with the Russians and if they influenced the election. She denied any wrongdoing with the Russians and vowed to stand behind her statement.

On The Bias

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The Briefing, Vol. V, Issue 28

This week:

  • Republican recruitment failures pile up.
  • Top-shelf GOP candidates avoid Senate runs in Missouri, Montana, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania.
  • Trump’s party can’t afford a poor 2018 in the Senate.

Senate 2018

GOP Recruitment failures: Republicans look at President Trump’s poor approval numbers, their own unpopularity, and the potential disaster that could unfold if they fail to do anything about Obamacare. They look at the historical trend of presidents’ parties losing ground and losing close elections in midterms. Yet so far, they can take solace in their ability to keep winning elections in spite of everything.

This is the silver lining. Despite heroic Democratic Party efforts, massive progressive grassroots fundraising, and a Democratic voting base that is simply more engaged and energized than at any time in recent memory, Republicans have held onto House districts in special elections in Kansas, Montana, and Georgia which in this environment are not truly safe, whatever their partisan composition.

The problem for the GOP is that there’s another side to this coin. Something is clearly discouraging Republican candidates who had been considering making their big move against weak Democratic senators in 2018. Right or wrong, some of them are getting quite scared, perhaps believing they see the writing on the wall for 2018.

The announcement last week that Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., would not be challenging Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., in next year’s election came as quite a shock to the Republicans’ system. Wagner had been acting, talking, and raising money like a Senate candidate right up to the moment she wasn’t one.

It’s not that Republicans can’t come up with a decent replacement candidate in Missouri. It’s that someone who seemed absolutely destined for this race, and probably perfect for it, would just suddenly up and quit.

Republicans have so far averted any sort of mass retirement crisis that would clearly and directly endanger their Senate majority. But 2018 is not supposed to be a year in which that majority is in danger. And this cycle is one in which Republicans really must put their best foot forward when it comes to challenging and defeating Democratic incumbent senators. The races for some Democratic-held seats, including Missouri, Montana and a few others, are nearly must-win races for Republicans.

Given the large number of Democratic seats up in 2018, and the very small number of Republican seats that are supposed to be competitive, 2018 has to be a good year for Republicans if they have plans of continuing to govern. The elections that follow — 2020 and 2022 — hold forth far less promise. The 2020 election will feature several swing-y seats that Republicans seized in their landslide 2014 win. The 2022 race will see them once again defending some very iffy seats that they originally won in 2010 and just managed to hold in 2016. Republicans’ best and perhaps only chance to gain ground in the Senate for some time will be in the 2018 election.

Missouri may not be a lost cause for the GOP. McCaskill is weak and must defend a state that President Trump won by 20 points. Already the GOP is pinning its hopes on the state’s new attorney general,  Josh Hawley. But Hawley was only just elected to that post a few months ago. Is he really going to start running for the next office already? What if he also takes a pass?

Wagner’s exit is not the first major high-profile GOP recruitment failure of this cycle. A number of best-of-breed potential Republican challengers in other states have, for one reason or another, backed out of competitive races that might have been potentially winnable for the right GOP challenger.

Early this cycle, Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wisc., backed away from challenging Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin quite abruptly, after giving every indication that he intended to get in, and despite the race seeming like a good match for him. Republicans are still struggling to come up with a second-tier candidate, with state legislators and businesspeople discussing entry into the race.

Former Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., did not exactly drop out of his widely expected run for Senate against Sen. Jon Tester, D. Instead, he was offered a better gig as President Trump’s Interior Secretary. It’s an early Trump White House move that Republicans are sure to regret. In the time since, Attorney General Tim Fox, R, has also opted against running. Montana Republicans could still conceivably field a plausible candidate, but probably not an optimal one.

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, a hoped-for challenge against Democratic Sen. Bob Casey by Republican Rep. Patrick Meehan was put on ice several weeks ago.

Republican recruitment has not been a disaster everywhere. At least not yet. There are some states — Ohio and West Virginia in particular — where Republicans seem likely to field candidates with good if not overwhelming chances. State Treasurer Josh Mandel’s run in Ohio isn’t without controversy among Republicans, but he won’t be stopped, and he should run a fairly decent race against Sen. Sherrod Brown just as he did in 2012. In West Virginia, the GOP is likely to nominate either Rep. Evan Jenkins, who is already in the race, or Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who may yet get in.

In other states — Indiana and North Dakota especially come to mind here– the field has not yet resolved itself with any clarity, but there appear to be decent candidates who are likely to enter. So there’s nothing to fear just yet there.

Still, the party’s difficulty in recruiting strong candidates for some of these almost-must-win 2018 challenges must be taken as a discouraging sign overall.

Yes, the 2018 election will probably be decided by factors not yet known today — particularly by how the economy is doing next year, if not by some other unforeseen scandal, outrage, or other incident. But as in poker, the victory comes when you get all your money on the table behind the best hand. And so far, the cards are not coming up as Republicans would have hoped.

Madigan pushing $5 billion tax hike in Illinois

Photo Credit: Seth Perlman, AP

Illinois’ Speaker of the House, Michael Madigan, is hoping to roll out a $5 billion tax hike on the state.

The tax hike under the current budget proposal permanently increases personal income tax rates by 32 percent to 4.95 percent from the current 3.75 percent rate.

On Tuesday, Governor Rauner immediately vetoed the tax increase, calling it a “two-by-four smacked across the forehead,” and has said he will do everything in his power to crush the proposal.

But the Illinois Senate overrode his veto setting the table for Madigan and Democrat Majority Illinois House to push forward the tax hike.

“Illinois families don’t deserve to have more of [their] hard-earned money taken from them when the legislature has done little to restore confidence in government or grow jobs,” said Governor Rauner.

“Under Speaker Madigan’s direction, legislators chose to double down on higher taxes while protecting the special interests and refusing to reform the status quo.”

Illinois is facing a grim scenario, but Governor Rauner believes that tax hikes by Madigan will not completely solve the problems.

Saturday marks three consecutive fiscal years since having a budget, and the state is billions of dollars of debt, owing $6.2 billion in the past year alone and facing a total of $14.7 billion in overdue bills.

Due to years of bi-partisan disagreement, Illinois has the worst credit in America and is facing “junk” status, meaning both a steady credit decline rating with Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s and an increasing interest rate that will be a deterrent to prospective investors. This is going to happen whether the budget is passed or not.

Without a budget, the state will not be able to cover services ordered by courts and road construction totaling billions of dollars will shut down. Powerball ticket sales will halt, and public universities may face a loss of accreditation.

The current proposal by Madigan does little to create jobs and boost the economy in Illinois, which is needed to permanently solve the financial crisis.