State budget address: Maybe Quinn should hire Peter Francis Geraci

February 16, 2011

Now that Governor Quinn is an elected governor, the days of long, rambling off-the-cuff speeches are done. Quinn's budget proposal speech was straight forward without too many Quinnisms. So in other words, the speech was pretty boring. The quick takeaway was that Quinn believes we can be a better state and we are going to cut a bunch of stuff. 

Here are a few random observations from watching Governor Quinn's speech:

  • I missed the first couple minutes, but tell me that Gov. Quinn explained the sash? I don't recall governor's wearing that during past speeches. I haven't seen much of the governor in the past few weeks - is he just wearing that everywhere? If that is tradition, maybe it's a tradition we could cut. Save a good $75 on knitting.
  • During the speech, IL House Speaker Michael Madigan stood behind the governor. This is not new, that is the normal procedure. But Madigan spent 90 percent of the speech with his head down, presumably writing notes. Or, dare I say, checking Facebook? Is that what I look like in staff meetings? Oh my, very obvious. But I'll be he was taking notes. Or playing Angry Birds.
  • Here are the cuts on the table, based on the speech: Medicare reimbursments for hospitals/nursing homes, consolidating school districts, eliminating state funding for regional state superintendents, restructuring debt.
  • Quinn went on to say that we are six to eight months behind schedule on state payments, including $280 million to transit agencies. He wants to restructure how we pay our debt. Like debt consolidation. Then (in my mind), Quinn went on to name a new cabinet member: Peter Francis Geraci. Geraci could have our finances cleaned up in 14 months. Not a bad idea, eh?
  • Quinn put lawmakers on notice with the line, "Saying no is not enough, unless you are offering real alternatives." I like this. I wish it applied to my life. For instance, when the wifey wants takeout. I say "how bout Chipotle?" She says, "no." And then offers up no other suggestion. That ain't right. I think it should be "no, how about..." like they teach in improv comedy.
  • Fact-check this, internet: In 2010, Illinois added more jobs than any other state in Midwest. We are also 4th in the nation in job growth.
  • Quinn also went on to say we are in the midst of a tech boom across Illinois? Then he listed some businesses leading the way. The first was Threadless, Chicago's progressive t-shirt company. You know you've made it when you get called out in a state budget address. They should have put a camera on them at the West Loop offices like they do when a college makes the NCAA tournament.  
  • Best Quinnism: "We are on an inland...situation." [About how well we do in exports, and we're not even a port city]
  • Seriously Madigan, Look up!!!!! Is he checking his phone?
  • Qunn faced some shouting over his stance on the end of the legislative college scholarship program. This is a program where lawmakers can give scholarships to students from their districts. It's been mishandled and imbalanced in recent years, with some lawmakers giving out too many, some giving out none. So essentially he is saying, "Hey, thanks for ruining the program jerks. Thanks to you, no one can have it."
  • When the speech was done, Quinn darted off the stage. Maybe more like a jog or even a jump-skip. Yes, that's it. He jump-skipped off the stage when complete. Nice job Governor Quinn, 35 minutes with not a lot of ramble. Boring, but strong content.

And seriously, what were you looking at Speaker Madigan!!!!!!!!!