Lawmakers return once again to the capitol in Springfield today in yet another attempt to piece together a budget that is sure to result in still more posturing, phony outrage, slick manuevers, influence-peddling and favor-trading.
Business as usual in Illinois is back in session.
"Springfield's jousting over the state budget is a brutal mix of politics and policies, egos and ambitions, philosophy and reality," political pundit Paul Green writes in Crain's today. "What is seldom discussed is why Illinois budget makers are more often than not in a state of perpetual chaos."
In an editorial, Crain's itself suggests that lawmakers - sigh - start from scratch this week.
Let's turn to the Tribune to answer that.
"As lawmakers return to Springfield on Monday with an unsettled state budget and a deadline to act staring them down, the rhetoric behind potential drastic social service cuts has become clouded by questions of credibility from the governor on down," Rick Pearson reports.
"Seeds of mistrust between the legislature and the governor's office flowered during the antagonistic reign of Rod Blagojevich. But they have resurfaced under new Gov. Pat Quinn, whose budget comments are ever-evolving."
The Daily Herald takes a crack at it too with a Q&A that starts like this:
"Q. What's going on with the Illinois budget?
"A. Good question, because no one seems to know."
Least of all, the lawmakers returning to Springfield once again to do the people's business.
"Q. When was this supposed to be done?
"A. The Illinois Constitution was changed in the 1994 to set a May 31 deadline in order to avoid budget fights backing up to the start of the budget year. But in recent years that deadline has routinely been blown."
It's the Illinois Way.