The State Journal-Register of Springfield declared Gov. Pat Quinn “irrelevant” in an editorial today, citing the fact that the General Assembly has overturned vetos that cut pay for regional superintendents and prohibited ComEd from raising electricity rates.
The Illinois General Assembly on Thursday filed another notice of irrelevancy to Gov. Pat Quinn when it restored the paychecks of the state’s regional superintendents of education.
Quinn, you may recall, used his amendatory veto power to remove funding for the regional superintendents’ salaries from the state budget back in June. Most stayed on the job, despite not being paid as of July 1.
The legislature restored their pay this week through a maneuver that pays the superintendents not from the state’s General Revenue Fund but from the Personal Property Replacement Fund, which goes to local governments. So lawmakers let Quinn’s amendatory veto stand but nullified its effect.
As we’ve stated before, this was a mess of Quinn’s own making. It adds fodder to the argument that he has lost credibility with the General Assembly (which is not without its own credibility issues).
The fact is, House Speaker Michael Madigan doesn’t need or want a governor to help him run the state. After failing to get along with Rod Blagojevich for six years, Madigan demonstrated where the real power lies in Springfield by having the governor impeached and removed from office. The state constitution says there has to be a governor, so Quinn stepped into the office.
Now, Quinn finds himself in the same position as Gerald Ford, after Richard Nixon’s impeachment. In the mid-1970s, Congress was triumphant. Ford’s role was reduced to a veto machine. In his two-and-a-half years in office, Ford vetoed 66 bills. Twelve of his vetoes were overridden, the most of any president other than the even more unwanted Andrew Johnson.
In recent months, Quinn’s greatest show of power has been holding a press conference to declare he would veto the gambling expansion bill if it came to his desk. The General Assembly tried to pass the bill again -- but ignored Quinn’s declaration that he would never pass a bill that allowed slots at racetracks.
We may get a strong executive as governor in 2014. Or, we may get Madigan’s daughter. Since her father already runs the state, Gov. Lisa Madigan wouldn't change anything in Springfield.
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