If you're a regular visitor to Reboot Illinois, you know that Capitol Fax publisher Rich Miller is one of the most astute observers of Illinois state government and politics. His weekly column is a regular feature on this site and his newsletter and blog are among the top sources for news and views on goings-on in the Capitol.
Miller on Wednesday made his annual holiday season appearance before the City Club of Chicago and kept up his reputation for putting on an event that is in equal parts informative, entertaining and provocative.
From the budget impasse to a compromise on workers' compensation to the viability of Michael Madigan's Democratic primary challenger to his thoughts on the 2018 gubernatorial race, Miller covered just about every topic in play in Illinois politics at the moment.
Here are my Top 10 favorite quotes:
10. On Gov. Bruce Rauner's Turnaround Agenda and House Speaker Michael Madigan's opposition to it:
The Speaker... calls the Turnaround Agenda extreme. And elements certainly seem to be. Maybe they're not extreme for Idaho, but they're fairly extreme for a state with Democratic super-majorities in the House and the Senate. They seem at times to even be specifically designed to prevent any real progress...
But overall, in the grand scheme of things... the governor isn't wrong.
9. On Illinois' bad reputation for business:
You go to Europe and people think Al Capone's still in charge of Chicago. I have to tell them, no, that's Cicero.
8. On the budget standoff in general:
What we got here is a situation where both sides are waiting for the other side to surrender and both sides are being extreme in their unreasonable-ness, to twist a Speaker Madigan quote.
7. Miller believes Rauner made a tactical mistake in April when, after forging a budget-balancing deal with Democrats, he cut funding for The Autism Project then restored the cuts after citizen outcry:
If you remember, he announced the cuts to The Autism Project on World Autism Day. That went over real well. Weeks later he was (running way) from that decision. When he did that, the Democrats went, 'Hmm. He can be rolled.'
He keeps saying, 'I'll take the arrows.' ...He doesn't like taking arrows when it's coming from parents of autistic children...
If you're the Democrats and you're looking at that, you think... we'll just wait him out. Because eventually he's going to flip on everything.
6. Madigan a week ago told a City Club audience that he has offered to meet Rauner halfway on several of the governor's reforms, including a property tax freeze. Miller said history contradicts that statement.
When the speaker was here the other day... he said we've tried to meet the governor halfway. That's... utter nonsense. He hasn't gone halfway. He hasn't gone 10 percent of the way. Anybody who knows the speaker and has studied the bills he has passed in years gone by understands that he can go a lot further than what he's saying that he will do.
Here are my Top 5 favorite quotes from Miller's speech at the City Club.