Monday, June 25, 2007

Blagojevich and the four Tops: Agreement?

Agreement in Principle

Everybody has been speaking about the “Agreement in Principle,” between the Governor and Speaker Mike, Senate President Jones, Republican Senate Leader Watson and Republican House Leader Cross as if there pretty much is an agreement not to shut down State Government on July 10, or so-- at which time the State Government would not have funds to meet its new fiscal year payroll, barring some action by the powers that be--- in Springpatch.

But, what is that Agreement? Indeed, is there an Agreement? That was pretty much the starting point for Berkowitz’s “Public Affairs,” interview with Deputy Republican Senate Leader Christine Radogno [R-Lemont] taped yesterday and to air in the suburbs next week.

The five ring circus in Springpatch; Obama and Giannoulias

The discussion during the half hour show covers a much broader range of territory than the “Agreement,” including the five ring circus in Springpatch; how those circus rings may shape the final eleven month, or shorter, budget; comparisons between some of the current views of State Treasurer Giannoulias, such as they are, and his former opponent, Senator Radogno; Ideas and positions of Senator Radogno on education funding and true education reform; and some reflections by Senator Radogno on her state senate colleague for eight years-- now U. S. Senator and Presidential Candidate Barack Obama.

Senator Radogno [R-Lemont] is in her 11th year of representing a good chunk of Chicago’s far southwest suburbs, spread among portions of Will, DuPage and Cook counties [and portions of the 3rd CD, 11th CD and 13th CD]. As the Republican candidate for Treasurer in ’06, Radogno outperformed, by any measure, the other Republican statewide candidates, including gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar Topinka. Indeed, had she not been outspent three to one, or so, by the wealthy family and friends of Obama wunderkind Alexi Giannoulias, many knowledgeable observers believe she would have been an easy winner—even with Alexi’s peculiar, strong backing of Illinois’ then Junior Senator and now presidential candidate, Barack Obama.
Craft a budget in a week?

State Senator Christine Radogno: …[T]here is an agreement in principle among the Leaders and Governor not to shut down State Government. Now the question is: do we just extend the ‘07” budget with no increases of any sort or do we actually craft a budget for one month that may be a little bit different than what the ’07 level,’ was. There is not yet agreement on that. That’s something we are going to be discussing this week.

Jeff Berkowitz: …Who is the “we” ?

This week’s Players:

Senator Christine Radogno: Well, the Leaders [Madigan, Jones, Watson, Cross] and the Governor will be discussing it and then there is sort of a second tier of people involved called the budgeteers- who are members from each caucus who actually sort of crunch the numbers along with staff and I am one of those individuals.

Jeff Berkowitz: …Who are the other budgeteers?

Senator Christine Radogno: It would be Donne Trotter [D-Chicago] from the Senate Democratic Caucus, …Garry Hannig [D-Gillespie] from the House Democratic Caucus and Mark Beaubien [R-Wauconda] from the House Republicans.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, we are taping this on Sunday [June 24], you’ll be going down to Springfield after our show to talk with the Budgeteers?

Senator Christine Radogno: Correct.

Jeff Berkowitz: Then the Leaders will be meeting when?

Senator Christine Radogno: Most likely Tuesday or Monday afternoon.

Keeping the Pressure on the General Assembly

Jeff Berkowitz: So, what is your druthers, would you like to see the next 30 days continue on the 07 budget, or somewhat different.

Senator Christine Radogno: …I think the one thing we don’t want to do is pass a budget that relieves the pressure on the General Assembly to get a twelve month, or in this case, an eleven month spending plan in place…I don’t think what we want to do is pass a plan such that people say, “Well, this month was Okay, let’s go do another month in August, and maybe one more in September and just sort of limp along…I want to get a budget passed that will support state services, essential state services but keep the pressure on to get the job done.
Pressure: Radogno style

Jeff Berkowitz: …[Y]ou want to keep pressure on, but what would the one month budget look like?

Senator Christine Radogno: It would be pretty much flat- as to what people got in June. I mean…let’s keep people sort of hungry and—

Jeff Berkowitz: So, use the past budget essentially without the increases--

Senator Christine Radogno: Right, yes.

Jeff Berkowitz: That are reflected in the Speaker Mike Madigan twelve month budget [that passed the House in May]?

Senator Christine Radogno: Yes.

How it will play out in Springpatch.

Jeff Berkowitz: Have you spoken with your Republican colleague from the House? Rep. Beaubien?

Senator Christine Radogno: Not about this. We will be meeting tomorrow [Monday] at 10:00 am.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, you don’t know what his views are?

Senator Christine Radogno: No, I don’t.

Jeff Berkowitz: Would you be speaking before to present a united Republican front?

Senator Christine Radogno: We may be. Of course, I will be talking with my Leader [Senator Frank Watson (R-Greenville)] and gathering information from my Caucus because that is sort of how it works. Each Caucus gets their ideas together and then sends the folks to the table to negotiate on behalf of the caucuses-- so before I make any commitments, clearly I need to talk with my Leader and caucus.
Senator Radogno [R-Lemont], as taped on Sunday, June 24, 2007 and as will air on the Suburban edition of “Public Affairs,” next week and on the City of Chicago edition and Aurora edition of Public Affairs on Monday, July 9 and can be watched later this week on your computer at
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at You may watch "Public Affairs," shows with Presidential Candidates Obama, McCain, Giuliani and Cox and many other pols at