Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Why Governor Quinn's Actions Today Should Scare The Hell Out of You....

First off regardless if you blame the legislature, Governor Quinn, Mike Madigan, Cullerton or little green men from Mars for the states pension issues, Governor Quinn's actions were reckless when it comes to the separation of powers as well as the role of the Governor in any form of state government.

But wait, isn't this just populist BS from Pat Quinn?  It is but it is also inherently dangerous to representative democracy in this state (yeah a bit dramatic, but stick with me).

Lets look at his ultimatum, that the legislature not only pass a solution to the pension issue but one that he will sign. So he is using an individual financial punishment on legislators in order to get them to engage in a specific legislative activity.  If you or I did that, offer a financial incentive to individual legislators to take a specific legislative action we would (and should) get a visit from the FBI.

But the slope isn't that slippery on this one.  What would happen if lets say the governor is unhappy that the State Supreme Court is not ruled on a particular item in a way that he finds timely, should he be able to zero fund their budget until such time as they take specific action?  If the legislature was investigating him for some reason, should he be able to zero fund the committee or entity doing the investigation?

Should one branch of government be able to use the funding of another branch of government as a stick in order to get specific action taken.  For example, should the State Supreme Court be able to put an injunction on the spending of funds by the state until some action was taken by either the governor or the legislature?

The next question is, if he can target an entire elected branch of government could he/should he be allowed to target other constitutional officers?  Could he attempt to get the Attorney General to take specific action by zero funding her pay (or some part of her office).

I think the answer to these questions is no, he shouldn't.

This may seem cute now, just a political stunt. But what happens when it gets used in a way that is just a little different.  It becomes a problem and it needs to be called out now.


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