Latest funding news: Nothing, as usual
Sorry if you've heard all this before. No news is bad news. And hearing the same news over and over again is bad news.
1. Gov. Blagojevich called another special legislative session today, and no one came. At least, very few showed up. Two leaders were still on their way back from the Rose Bowl in California. And Rep. Madigan reportedly was in Florida. Anywhere but where they should be.
2. Blago again suggested Daley use funds from the sale of the Chicago Skyway to bail out the CTA. Daley said no way, and made Blago look like a financial fool: “You don’t take sales of assets and use ‘em for your budget. . . . You only use ‘em for infrastructure. That is the worst scenario for anyone dealing with financing. . . . That is disaster,” scolded da Mayor, according to the Sun-Times report.
3. Rep. Julie Hamos held a hearing Wednesday on how to plug the state budget hole if state gasoline sales taxes were diverted to fund transit.
4. Now this is the only real news on all this nonsense: Since it's a new year and a new legislative session, it will take just a simple majority to pass bills instead of the super majority required late last year in the overtime session.That means 60 votes in the House and 30 in the Senate. Hamos/ SB 572 -- the regional sales tax increase -- got 61 House votes on Sept. 4. And the legislation to divert the gas sales tax got 57 votes on Nov. 28. The downside is that the union agreement is out the window now and will have to be renegotiated. Part of the agreement was that it had to be passed by Dec. 31.
5. Realistically, the next legislative full session probably won't start until Monday, Jan. 7 -- less than two weeks from the Jan. 20 Doomsday.
Happy 2008 everyone!