Governor Pat Quinn delivered his annual budget address today to a joint session of the General Assembly. It was mostly finger pointing at legislators for lack of action on pension reform, but he covered other topics. Below in regular print are real lines from the speech. Beneath each line we’ve added, in italics, what he meant to say.
This is an honest budget. There are no gimmicks or fake numbers in this budget.
Glad I’m not CEO of a public company. Accounting in the private sector that ignores line items like unfunded medical costs and worsening pension deficits as we do around here would put me in the slammer.
When I took office, Illinois institutionalized more people with disabilities and mental health challenges than any state in the Union.
I’ve de-institionalized more people with mental health challenges than has any state in the Union. Today, I ask for their leadership in support of my budget.
As I said to you a year ago, our state cannot continue on this path.
Three years ago in my State of the State address I told you “make no small plans” and I talked about spending projects galore. Sheesh, was I an idiot or what?
Last year, I asked you to work with my administration to restructure our Medicaid program, which was on the brink of collapse.
I just threw 200,000 poor folks off of Medicaid, but our mope voters still think I’m champion for the little guys.
Last week, we reached an important contract agreement with our public employees union, AFSCME, which represents 35,000 state employees.
I got elected promising AFSME a big pay raise, which didn’t happen because we couldn’t afford it, so never mind what’s in the new agreement and don’t appropriate any money for it.
On April 14, 2010, I signed into law Senate Bill 1946, which significantly reformed our public pension system for new employees.
In April 2010 I bragged about new pension reforms. They got us squat and the pensions are worse than ever, but the press and the public bought it.
This year’s budget is a tough pill to swallow.
In the State of the State address last month I said “we are at a critical juncture.” You didn’t listen, so now we are at a really critical juncture.
There has been no vote on a comprehensive pension reform bill.
Nothing has happened on pension reform because I’ve proposed nothing, done nothing, and I’ m not about to start. Get over it.
I’m ready to sign that bill.
WHAT bill would I sign, you ask? Never mind. Just send me some bill. Any bill. And we’ll declare victory.
We cannot turn to our taxpayers to repair the pension problem. There should be adjustments to pension benefits to fundamentally resolve this crisis.
[Wait, he got this one right! That’s exactly what he should have said. Of course, he also said he would not raise the income tax.]
So, members of the General Assembly, what are you waiting for? Illinois taxpayers are losing patience with your lack of action.
Taxpayers despise you about as much as they despise me, so I’m gonna blame you for all this.
If I could issue an Executive Order to resolve the pension crisis, I would. And I would have done it a long time ago.
As governor I actually have the unique power to stop spending wherever I want, so I could force some action, but I’ve never done anything bold so I sure won’t do that.
The hard work ahead isn’t just pension reform. It’s paying down the backlog of bills caused by decades of fiscal mismanagement.
We passed that 66% “temporary” tax increase promising it would pay down back bills, but not a cent of the new money went towards that. Can you believe the shit we get away with?
We should work together to enact legislation that suspends unnecessary corporate tax loopholes.
We all know corporate taxes are ultimately born by people and are regressive, but demagoguery works great on corporate taxes, so let’s hammer those employers.
I stand ready to sign comprehensive pension reform immediately. Today. But I cannot sign what I do not have on my desk. The people of Illinois need your immediate action.
Do I need to unleash Squeezy the Pension Python on you guys? Huh, Huh?
And so I ask you, as our greatest president Abraham Lincoln asked in this year’s film: “Shall we stop this bleeding?”
And so I ask you, as Vice Presidential candidate James Stockdale famously asked in 1992: “Who am I and why am I here?”