amen, Rich Miller:
Legislators are worried sick that if they vote to raise taxes to balance the budget they'll get the same treatment as the hapless Cook County Board President Todd Stroger.
Understandably, nobody wants to be roasted alive. But their job sometimes requires them to do what's right, not what's easy or popular. And sometimes that means doing things that nobody appreciates, like making sure the government doesn't collapse, even though a furious public doesn't believe a collapse is imminent.
when i was down in springfield earlier this month, i was in a meeting with a state senator, pitching her (which it is) on our issues and testing the budget waters. the waters were mad.
'you know,' she said. 'you all always ask for money but where are you when we need to vote for a tax hike and we need the cover? you all want something but no one is out there willing to take the heat for us.'
i murmured something conciliatory and understanding but in my head i asked, 'but that's not my job, is it? to take your heat when you need to make a difficult decision that you're being paid to make for the benefit of the state.'
i'm sorry; i work for an organization that has been taking the 'heat' of a bad state fiscal situation for decades, now. we've taken the 'heat,' Madame Senator. we've laid off people, cut services, closed centers, tightened belts, frozen salaries - what more heat do these frakking people expect us to take??
i love my job but there are times when i want to be honest when i speak with elected officials. i can understand the need for pragmatism and i understand that there are bigger priorities in the queue in front of me. but is that really all they're concerned about? making it through the next election cycle? not angering their clearly ignorant constituents who can't get a grasp on the fact that Illinois is sinking into the tar pits??
there is NO other plan, people!
we have NO revenue coming into this state - we have a $12 billion state deficit that needs to be resolved. where do people think revenue comes from? the Revenue Fairy (who's been on vacation for the past 8 years)??
grr. folks need to pay attention and politicians need to get off their duff and speak to their districts in a bluntly honest way.
then *my* job gets easier. shit.