The name of the group is LOL Illinois, but organizers say the state’s sorry financial state is no laughing matter.
Created by the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, LOL Illinois is a new campaign designed to build public pressure on lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner to reach a deal to end the state’s historic budget impasse. It features billboards and ads in train stations directing people to LOLIllinois.com, where visitors can send letters to their lawmakers and share stories about how they’ve been impacted by the stalemate.
Ty Fahner, president of the Civic Committee, said the effort isn’t designed to assign blame to the Republican governor or Democrats led by House Speaker Michael Madigan. Rather, the idea is to fan public outrage in the hope both sides will move past the political talking points at the heart of the standoff.
“The whole thing is designed to make it sufficiently uncomfortable for people in elected to office at all levels who are failing to do their job,” said Fahner, a Republican and former Illinois attorney general.
Fahner said Republicans and Democrats alike share responsibility for the state’s money problems, and as such must move past differences to find a solution.
That’s proving to be easier said than done. Rauner and Democrats resumed budget negotiations last week, but both sides remain entrenched. Rauner says he won’t sign off on another stopgap spending plan unless Democrats sign off on portions of his economic agenda, while Democrats contend his ideas will hurt working families and have nothing to do with the budget-making process.
*Quite the musical coup for Trump inaugural … if it were 1987.
From the notebook
*The Sunday Spin: On this week’s show, Chicago Tribune political writer Rick Pearson’s guests were Rebecca Shi, executive director of the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition; Democratic political consultant Tom Bowen; and former Republican state Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine. The "Sunday Spin" airs from 7 to 9 a.m. on WGN 720-AM. Listen to the full show here.
Follow the money
*The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform looks at how votes have shifted in the state since 2008.
*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.