Showdown: Madigan vs. Rauner comes down to one vote
Representatives in the Illinois House must decide whether to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the government-worker union arbitration bill or to stand up for their tax-paying constituents.
A single vote in the first week of September will determine how much power and influence government-worker unions wield over Illinois state government. The Illinois House of Representatives is poised to vote on legislation that would give the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees lopsided bargaining power in contract negotiations with Gov. Bruce Rauner, potentially costing Illinois taxpayers nearly $4 billion in expensive union benefits and wage increases.
AFSCME’s contract with the state expired on June 30, and now Rauner is negotiating a new contract with a government-worker union that is used to getting its way. Over the last decade, AFSCME has received 27 separate pay increases, as Democrats have enjoyed single-party rule in Illinois.
Knowing that working with Rauner would actually involve two-sided negotiations, as contrasted with the situation under previous governors, AFSCME colluded with Democrats in the General Assembly to draft Senate Bill 1229, which would remove Rauner from the bargaining process.
On May 29, the Illinois House passed SB 1229 on a 67-25 vote. Those who voted for the bill – all Democrats – have received over $5.5 million in contributions from government-worker unions since 2002.
In fact, since 2002, AFSCME, the Illinois Education Association, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the Service Employees International Union and the Chicago Teachers Union have spent a combined $46 million in direct contributions to political candidates.
After SB 1229 passed both chambers of the General Assembly, Rauner vetoed the legislation. A supermajority of votes in each chamber is now required to override the governor’s veto.
On Aug. 19, the Senate overrode the governor’s veto, and now the House is scheduled to meet on Sept. 2. The House will need 71 votes to override the veto – which is exactly the number of Democrats in the House.
A veto override could cost taxpayers up to $4 billion and is a dangerous precedent to set. Government-worker unions already wield tremendous influence over Illinois politicians. In the next week, House members will have to decide: Do they represent AFSCME, or the tax-paying constituents who elected them?