I’m trying to keep to my pledge from an entire day ago to pay attention to state politics so that I might actually have something to say when I call my state reps. It’s excruciating. No un-American, unconstitutional travel bans. No nuclear war hanging in the balance. No moronically clueless tweets against a backdrop of menacing authoritarianism. Most importantly, no stream of Twitter pundits guiding my sense of outrage and giving me a quick fix of moral superiority. So dull. So boring. Like political broccoli, except for the fact that I actually like broccoli.
For you out-of-staters, Illinois has been in a budget crisis for two years as our Republican governor and our Democratic Speaker of the House refuse to come to agreeable terms. The stopgap spending arrangements have allowed state government and services to continue, but have apparently been very hard on schools and social services agencies; they’ve had to run basically on IOUs from the state. I’m not proud of this, but that is pretty much all I know about it. While I’ve been glued to the never-ending campaigns of national political coverage, from Obama 2012 to midterm elections to Bernie Sanders to email servers to Russian hackers, the state has been in budget deadlock. I’m pretty sure I’m for a budget agreement, and there seems to be a compromise plan up for consideration now, but higher income taxes? Default on pensions? Defund schools? Freeze property taxes? Obviously, I have some general ideas about those things but it’s going to take some time to become reasonably informed about the specifics. Maybe if we can get Governor Rauner to start tweeting in all caps, I’ll be able to pay attention.