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Doug Finke

Fate of gun bills up to Rauner

But he doesn’t have to act till after primary

But he doesn’t have to act till after primary

Some Republican lawmakers complained that those gun control bills that got votes in the General Assembly last week were rushed and consequently flawed.

Well, just to be clear, whatever speed was employed on the issue wasn’t enough to force Gov. Bruce Rauner’s hand on any of the bills before the primary election.

Here’s the situation: Of all of the bills that were debated last week, in committees and in the chambers, only one has gotten all of the way through the process and been sent to Rauner. That’s the one that calls for the state to license gun dealers. Now, they only need to obtain a federal license.

Rauner, though, has 60 days to act on the bill, which means he isn’t forced to do anything on the bill itself until well after the March 20 primary. He’s been asked what he plans to do and has taken some heat for basically ducking the question.

Expect that to continue, but the key thing to remember is Rauner doesn’t have to put anything in writing before the election.

Quotable quote

“The youth of our nation are shaming the adult world into action.”

– Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich on the momentum behind gun control efforts.

• • •

Cupich, by the way, said he identifies with hunters. When he lived in South Dakota, Cupich said, he annually sponsored a “bishops hunt” for pheasants.

Getting forgetful?

Rauner delivered his budget speech Feb. 14, just a little more than 3 weeks ago.

Apparently his memory is already fading about exactly what he proposed. This is what Rauner said during an appearance in Morton last week about the need to reduce taxes in Illinois to boost the economy.

“I’ve recommended a budget that rolls back the income tax hike that they passed over my veto last summer,” he said. “Roll that back down to [a] 3 percent income tax rate from the 4.95 percent it is today.”

That can’t even be construed as a misstatement. What Rauner proposed was a cut in the personal income tax rate to 4.7 percent from the current 4.95. That will happen if – and only if – the General Assembly approves a pension reform plan that many consider legally suspect and if – and only if – said pension plan is ruled constitutional by a court system that isn’t renowned for speedy decisions.

Budget banter

That same day Rauner was in Morton, his budget director, Hans Zigmund, was in Springfield and testified to a House committee about cutting the rate to 3 percent.

“The notion that you could get there in a year, I think it is safe to say, is not particularly reasonable,” Zigmund said. “I think the governor recognizes that.”

He explained how the tax rate could start to be reduced, but over the long haul.

“I’m going to nominate you for the most honest member of the Rauner administration ever,” said state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, a frequent Rauner critic.

He further called Rauner a “phony governor” who rails against the tax hike, but plans to spend the revenue from it.

What were they thinking?

In case you haven’t already heard, state lawmakers in Utah created a rap video to explain how the legislative process works. This is not a joke.

There are not adequate words in any language to describe this thing, although people have tried.

“For Unclear Reasons, Utah Lawmakers Made a Cringe-Worthy Rap Video,” headlined a Huffington Post story.

That was fairly kind. Fox News said, “Utah lawmakers create worst-ever rap sequel to ‘Schoolhouse Rock.’”

Here’s a link to the video as Tweeted by the Utah House of Representatives. View it at your own risk:

Say what you will about House Speaker Michael Madigan, but at least he never forced the lawmakers he controls to do anything like that.

Fate of gun bills up to Rauner The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill., Doug Finke column890f3117-d1cd-4e78-8a20-a7769e4f5c5d/image-pv_web.jpgshaw-push-component-1