Saturday, July 07, 2007

I have an idea on how to pay for the healthcare of some of the 1.4 million people in this state...

Stop flying the state plane back and forth from Springfield Governor.

From Lou Lang's comments on the floor of the state house today (Swiped from Cap Fax)

Speaker Madigan: Mr. Lang.
Representative Lang: Thank you Mr. Speaker, Ladies and Gentlemen, um, I applaud the comments of Mr. Black. I hardly know where to begin, but I’ll find a spot to do so.
The… the letter, the letter that was sent to the Speaker, uh, creating or attempting to create a constitutional crisis is an insult to all of us. It’s an insult to the process of the General Assembly, more important, an insult to the process of the House of Representatives.
The Senate apparently does not have these problems with the Governor even though we’ve sat in Committee of the Whole, after Committee of the Whole, after Committee of the Whole working while the Senate does whatever they do over there.
We’re doing some work over here. We’ve gotten some good work done over the last several days. The Governor can call it what it wishes. I think we had an engaged body. It’s too bad all of our members weren’t here, I think we should have some comments for them when they return. But, we’ve gotten some good work done, we’ve been engaged, we’ve talked about these issues, we’ve asked our questions. The same Governor who would force a Constitutional crisis has yet to answer my several pages of questions that I told Mr. Filan the other day that would be asked, questions that were supposed to have been answered yesterday before we voted… on that bill. It’s now 24 hours later, we still don’t have the answers to the questions. I would still like them, by the way, Mr. Governor, Mr. Filan. I think I’m entitled to ‘em. And so, also are the members of this House entitled to the answers to those questions.
This Constitutional crisis that the Governor wants to create is of his own making. He’s done it for his own purposes. They certainly aren’t done for any purposes of advancing the public policy of the State of Illinois. They certainly aren’t done for the purpose of advancing the work we’re doing in this House to try to create a budget, and the work we have done to try to create a budget. In fact, it was cowardly.
This… the governor received this letter from the Speaker yesterday saying we were going to be here at ten o’clock today. And yet, rather than going into a court room and asking a judge to rule, asking the judge to create some sort of an injunction forcing us to stay here, instead in a very cowardly way sends this letter and asks his floor leader, my friend, to stand up on the floor and threaten us all. To threaten us all, to say, “…better not leave town. Don’t get in your cars.”
Well, Governor, I for one, will be where you can find me. I’ll give you all my phone numbers. Send the State Police for me any time you want. But, I for one, plan to follow the lead of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, not because he’s the leader of my party, not because he’s the leader of the Majority Caucus but because he’s the leader of this Chamber. And, on this, all one hundred and eighteen members of this House stand together.
We have a responsibility to protect the integrity of this Chamber and we should not, and must not let anyone, the Governor, the President of the Senate, or anyone outside of this Chamber to instruct this Chamber as to what we ought to do to conduct the business of this Chamber. And I hope you will all stand with me and together on this issue now and every day for as long as we are here. (cheers, applause)
Let’s go back to why we’re here in the first place. We’re here because we didn’t get a budget done. Now during the process of political name calling that we did, and that we continue to do once in a while, where Republicans will blame the majority party for not getting their act together. That’s fine. Make your comments. They’ve been made.
But we’re here today because there is no budget. This House passed the budget whether you voted for it or not. Whether you signed some goofy letter afterwards, or not, disavowing your vote. We passed a budget in this House. One Chamber hasn’t even addressed the budget, that’s the other Chamber.
We got a Governor who wants to spend three billion dollars more than we have to spend. And the guy who cites the Constitution in this letter thinks nothing of trying to force us to pass a budget that’s three billion dollars out of balance - three billion dollars out of balance. He tried the Gross Receipts Tax. Last I saw it failed one hundred and seven to nothing. Anybody here gonna change their vote on that? I didn’t think so.
One hundred and seven to nothing, Governor. Your plan failed. If you have a plan to provide new revenue to this state, let’s have the meeting. We’ll be here. We’ll sit here in the Committee of the Whole and listen to you talk about new ideas that have not been rejected. You have a plan to raise three billion dollars? Come to the floor. We’ll convene the meeting – I’m sure you will, Mr. Speaker – and we’ll listen. And we’ll debate it. And we’ll talk to the witnesses. And we’ll ask our questions. And maybe we’ll get the answers next time when we ask them. And we’ll vote it up or down.
But at some point, at some point Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Governor, citizens of Illinois - we need to have a budget that’s something like a balanced budget, the Constitution requires that. And say what you will about the needs of Illinois, and we all have our different views about our needs. I would like to spend more money for schools. I would like to find a health care plan. I would do a lot of things. More money for social service agencies and so would many of you. Today the money is not there.
So to continue to talk about a three billion dollar expenditure that we don’t have, with no way to pay for it is folly. It’s a waste of time, a waste of effort. And I know what the Governor will say, he’ll say, “Oh, Representative Lang, is it a waste of effort to try to help the people of the State of Illinois?” Well bully for you, Governor. We’ve heard you say that. We’ve heard you say that over and over again. But you are the leader of this State. Talk about the Constitution, you are the leader. You’ve got something to propose? We will be here to listen to your proposal. You want to tell us how we’re gonna raise that three billion dollars? We can’t even engage in the process of how to spend it because we don’t have it.
You’ve got a big, bold, creative health care plan which I’m not sure I’m for. But it doesn’t make any difference if I’m for it or all of us are for it if we can’t pay for it. So first comes the revenue then comes the expenditures. You have a tax plan, Governor? Bring it forward. You want to do some gaming? I might help you with that. Bring it forward. Let’s find out what we’re willing to do. And, Governor, this is the Illinois General Assembly, you served here briefly. If we won’t provide you the money you can’t spend it. It’s just that simple.
During the Committee of the Whole on the Gross Receipts Tax I asked the Governor a pointed question. Many of you liked the question, I recall. The question was, “Governor, you talk about compromise. You talk about negotiation. But whenever you’re asked, the only thing you will talk about is your plan, everything else off the table.” And I asked him the question, “Governor, if everything is off the table how can we compromise?” I don’t know what he said. Does anybody recall an answer?
And I’m going to tell you folks on the Minority Party something I’m not supposed to tell you. When the Governor was in our Democratic Caucus I asked him the same question. And I got the same garbage for an answer. No answer. I asked him about the health care plan. And I said, “Governor we’re all for a health care plan to do something for the people of the State of Illinois but we can’t afford your plan. So can you scale it back? Can you tell us what you’ll agree to, so we can to try help you find the money to make sure that Illinoisans that don’t have health care can get it. And I said to him, “What about that?” And he said, “Representative Lang, do you know that there are one point four million Illinoisans without health care?” And I said to him, “Yes, Governor, I know that, but where will you compromise?” And he said, “Representative Lang, do you know there are one point four million Illinoisans without health care?” And I said, “Governor, where are you going to find the money for this?” He said, “The Gross Receipts Tax, Representative.” And I said, “Governor, the Gross Receipts Tax lost one hundred and seven to nothing.” And I said, “Governor, how are you gonna pay for this?” He said, “Do you know there are one point four million Illinoisans without health care?”
Ladies and Gentlemen, we cannot put up with this as a Chamber. We are going to work together in this Chamber, maybe the best we ever have because of what’s going on around us.
Governor, you’ve made the worst mistake you could make. You united one hundred and eighteen people together. (cheers)
I am prepared, as all of us are, all one hundred and eighteen, all the staff in this Chamber, prepared to work together as long as it takes to get the best budget for the State of Illinois we can get. And Governor, if you need to call out the State Police, the dogs, your staff, or anybody else to bring us here, go ahead. Do it. We’ll be here.
I noted, Mr. Speaker, that the Governor in another cowardly act has refused, he’s not going to call the State Police is he? He’s now issued another Proclamation, hasn’t he? So, rather than doing what someone with guts would do after he threatened us, he’s just gonna say, “Tell you what, I’ll just call you back in at two-thirty today.” This is the man that leads the State of Illinois. I, for one, am fed up with it. I don’t care what party he’s in. I am fed up with it. This man must lead. And if he’s not gonna lead, let’s just trample him, pass a budget and go home for the summer. (cheers, applause)

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