Politics as Usual: GOP group takes aim at Madigan

vchicola Economic Prosperity

The campaign style tactics surrounding the state’s budget continue as a Washington D.C.-based political group is taking aim at Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan on policies it says have put the state in debt since he became speaker in 1983.

The State Government Leadership Foundation announced a digital advertisement purchase to run throughout the state for the rest of this week, directing users to www.stopdiggingmadigan.com, an online petition to urge the speaker not to continue pushing for a state budget which spends $3 to $4 billion more than it takes in.

“The over 12 million people of Illinois are owed answers by Speaker Madigan on why he insists on deepening 30 years of reckless spending with his current budget proposal,” said SGLF Executive Director Matt Walter in a news release. “Such an enormous debt impacts every member of the Prairie State, and it’s time to tell the speaker that enough is enough.”

Steve Brown, Madigan’s spokesperson, responded the claims are misguided and attack the speaker for issues he himself did not create on his own.

“People try to use Mike Madigan’s longevity in office as a negative weapon,” Brown said. “They forget that he’s never signed a bill, he’s never appointed an agency director and never made a pension investment.”

The SGLF did not disclose how much was spent on the ads nor say how it is funded. However, Ellie Wallace of the group did say the ads would be running in markets all over the state including Chicago and Springfield.

On its website, it says, “The SGLF exists through the generosity of its private sector donors. Individuals, organizations and companies sharing state level public policy concerns find the SGLF to be an effective organization to foster a dialogue on these issues.”

The SGLF focuses on highlighting conservative policies dealt with in statehouses across the country. It’s also part of the Republican State Leadership Committee, which works to gain control of statehouses across the country for the GOP.

Madigan, a Democrat, worked with other Democratic leaders to push through a budget earlier this year which was between $3 and 4 billion underfunded, asking Gov. Bruce Rauner to raise taxes to fund the additional revenue. Rauner vetoed the majority of the budget and said he will not raise taxes until the Democratically-controlled Legislature passes items of his “turnaround agenda,” such as a property tax freeze, changes in workers compensation and tort reform.