WE ARE ILLINOIS
All these Quinncidences
Chicago Tribune Editorial
An Illinois payback in three acts:
July 29, 2010: "Flider Continues to Oppose Income Tax Increase"
— Press release from state Rep. Bob Flider, D-Mount Zion. The Decatur Herald & Review later reports that, while campaigning for re-election in October 2010, Flider called Gov. Pat Quinn's proposed 1-percentage-point personal income tax hike "the absolute last thing we need to be doing," and urged that Illinois "eliminate waste" and make "hard choices." On Election Day, Flider is defeated.
Jan. 13, 2011: "Flider supports income tax increase during final day in office after campaigning against it"
— Decatur Herald & Review on Flider's vote for a 2-percentage-point tax increase, which House Democrats passed by one vote. No Republican voted for it.
Feb. 16: 2012: "Quinn names tax hike lawmaker to lead agriculture agency"
— Chicago Tribune, noting that the state pays the head of its Department of Agriculture $133,273 a year. If confirmed by the Illinois Senate, Flider will be the fourth of 12 House Democrats who as lame ducks voted for Quinn's 67-percent tax hike and subsequently landed good-paying, taxpayer-funded jobs through the governor. Two more landed government jobs elsewhere.
A tip of the hat to Rich Miller's Capitolfax.com and to Illinois Republicans for the first two items. The people of Illinois are left with a question asked so often here that we ought to have it engraved: Why does Pat Quinn make his tax-hike enablers look like his co-conspirators in a political payback scheme?
Of course, to think this pattern is anything but payback, you need to be (1) terminally gullible and (2) convinced that Illinois' gene pool of citizens fit for cushy public jobs is dominated by lame duck Democrats who awakened that fateful 1/11/11 just itching to flip-flop on a monumental tax vote.
Our hearts go out to the Quinn spokespeople who have no choice but to keep saying that the tax vote had nothing to do with the governor's appointments, and that all these Democrats are uniquely qualified to again be public payrollers. You're supposed to think these are just Quinncidences.
The curious pattern started three days after the tax vote when Quinn appointed ex-lawmaker Careen Gordon to a seat on the state Prisoner Review Board. Gordon — like Flider, she had campaigned against Quinn's tax hike proposal — also lost her re-election bid in November 2010. She soon approached Quinn about the board job, they talked again in December, she delivered for the governor in January and, well, you know.
Legislators were so uncomfortable about that tawdry episode that, in March 2011, Gordon quit the Prisoner Review Board rather than face a tough confirmation vote in the Senate. Not to worry: A month later, in another Quinncidence, the governor's doubtless worldwide search for an associate general counsel at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation led him to appoint ... Careen Gordon!
There have been more Quinncidences that benefited Democrats who left office after voting for this jobs-crushing — have you seen the Illinois unemployment trend? — tax increase:
• Quinn found former Rep. Mike Smith uniquely qualified for a gig on the Educational Labor Relations Board.
• Quinn found former Rep. David Miller uniquely qualified for a gig at the Department of Public Health.
There's more: Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle last June said legislative service was a "credit" that helped qualify former state Reps. John O'Sullivan and Michael Carberry for gigs as, respectively, a regional superintendent at the county's Forest Preserve District and a deputy director in facilities management. Quoth Preckwinkle: "I'm grateful to people who are willing to serve in government."
And now we have the uniquely qualified Flider.
As we keep saying, we never would suggest anything improper about these Quinncidences involving a governor and legislators who, in the final hours of their lame-duckery, gave him the tax votes he desperately needed.
What happens now? We hope Senate President John Cullerton — even after his members get past the March 20 primary — tells Quinn he won't be party to using taxpayer money, raised by a tax hike, to reward Democrats who voted for that tax hike.
If Careen Gordon was too hot for the Senate to handle, so is Flider.
Think, senators, about how complicit you want to be in this.
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune
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