Republicans undergoing identity crisis, Skillicorn contends
House Speaker Michael Madigan's (D-Chicago) deceitful tactics managed not only to push through the largest income tax hike in Illinois history but also to cause discord among his political rivals, Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) said on a recent "Illinois Rising" radio program.
“Speaker Madigan has magnificently pushed the tax hike through and outmaneuvered the governor,” Skillicorn said. “But more powerful than that is that he destroyed the Republican caucus in this whole thing. Some of the people that voted for the tax hike that disobeyed (House Minority Leader Jim) Durkin (R-Western Springs) are also in leadership. They are Republican spokesmen in many committees. Now, are those Republican spokesmen going to help out those bills that are pushing reform, the bills that save taxpayers money or the bills that can lower the tax burden? We have a situation now where we are completely dysfunctional and we need to rebuild.”
The passage of a state budget after two years without one sent ripple effects through the state GOP because 15 House Republicans helped override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of the measures it contained. He was opposed in part to the 32 percent income tax increase it established to generate more state revenue.
Rauner shook up his staff immediately afterward, including the resignations or terminations of more than 20 workers. Rep. Steve Anderssen (R-Geneva) was asked to step down as House floor leader, as he was one of the Republicans who voted for the budget and tax hike. A small spate of retirements from Republican House members followed, including Reps. Chad Hays (R-Catlin), Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) and Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth), who announced his retirement on Aug. 3.
Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) also retired from that post and was replaced by Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) shortly before the July 7 budget vote.
Skillcorn asserted that his colleagues lost their way and have no further recourse in the General Assembly.
“We, in the end, just ignored what bad policy raising taxes is when we have one of the weakest economies in the Midwest, and then, on top of that, not passing a single reform,” Skillicorn said. “Just disgusting. It’s a betrayal to not just Republicans but to taxpayers – both Republicans and Democrats across the state. It’s significant. But then you also have to look at the bigger picture, and that is, how do we actually solve things now? We have a situation – because we give the go-ahead to the first opportunity to pass a tax hike – now we don’t have any leverage for reforms.”
The discord and positional turmoil are reflective of the identity crisis Republican lawmakers are experiencing, Skillicorn argued.
“The party is supposed to stand for something, right?” Skillicorn said. “If we do not stand against hikes, if we do not stand against caving in to Speaker Madigan, if we don’t stand for trying to get reforms, then what do we really stand for?”
Organizations in this Story
1500 Carlemont Drive
Crystal Lake, IL - 60014