Franks, of course, has crafted an image of being the anti-Blagojevich and this can do nothing but heighten that view. There was even talk of Franks running against the governor in the 2006 Democratic Party primary election.
There are lots of little items this ex-legislator found of interest. For instance, note how few agency directors are in Springfield to talk to legislators.
This reminds me of the lashing of Will Turner by his father, Boot Strap Bill. Both were captives of the Flying Dutchman, Davy Jones’ ship, but the son had a chance to get off.
Now Franks is not Governor Rod Blagojevich’s father, but, since Franks’ father Herb Franks and Blagojevich’s father Dick Mell are such good friends and fishing buddies, maybe the whipping could be considered to have been delivered by proxy. I have tried to make the statement a bit easier to read on your screen.
Statement from Rep. Jack Franks on State Budget
Today, my office called each state agency in an effort to schedule meetings between me and each director to discuss their budget priorities.
I wanted to ask some of them why they allowed the governor to loot $1 million from their line items to pay for the administration’s legal fees defending his violent video games legislation, when their agencies had nothing to do with the litigation. Surely they could provide some suggestions on where to cut from their budgets, since based on their generosity to the governor’s legal defense, it seemed they had more than enough money to give.
However, we found that only eight out of 29 randomly selected agency directors contacted are in Springfield today.
With no immediate end in sight to the budget impasse, each agency head ought to be in Springfield to be available to answer questions from members of the General Assembly concerning their budgets. They are a necessary party to this dialogue and their attendance should be mandatory.
The governor’s office spent about $26 million on transportation for its staff last fiscal year. At the very least, they should be here while we are in session.
As budget negotiations continue, I am pleased to see that the governor has finally managed to visit Springfield more than once a week.
However, he should have been here for the last five months, as the General Assembly has been. He should have shown leadership on the electric rate debacle that he helped create by stacking the Illinois Commerce Commission with his cronies. His absence during the legislative session and his disdain for the legislative process has put many Illinois families in crisis.
For the governor to now berate the House for not working five days a week, while the Senate will meet for only one day this week and while the governor has spent more time jogging in Chicago than he has spent in Springfield all session, is tantamount to lunacy. The governor spent more time on running diary tracking his running time, temperature and wind speed than he has on any legislative item.
The House has passed a budget and has done its job. Once the electric rate issue is settled, the Senate can pass the House budget if it desires. The onus is squarely on the governor to address the electric rate issue forcefully and with finality.
The governor has shown that he can campaign but he has yet to show that he can govern.
His hypocritical stance on the House’s work ethic is insulting. He has failed to spend the necessary time and energy in Springfield and has created a mess of budget when he had a real opportunity for reform. Instead we get the same old tired complaints, business as usual and a budget crafted on dead-end tax schemes.
Since we will be here for so long, the governor ought to expend some energy and help pass Representative (John) Fritchey’s bill to ban large campaign contributors from getting state contracts, resurrect his long-dormant ethics proposal that was supposed to “rock the system,” or work on the school funding formula instead of gimmicks.
Like the emperor of our children’s tales, he can’t afford to be exposed.
- He can’t and won’t answer questions about whether his campaign fund has been subpoenaed.
- He can’t and won’t answer why he appointed Ali Ata to a directorship of a state financial agency after Mr. Ata gave over $50,000 to the governor’s campaign. He can’t and won’t answer when and how the indicted Tony Rezko introduced Mr. Ata to the governor.
- He can’t and won’t answer how Beverly Ascaridis got a job after her husband gave the governor $1,500.
- He can’t and won’t answer a simple question about the number of subpoenas his administration has received from the federal government, even though he has been directed to answer by the Attorney General.
The governor needs to come clean and answer all of our questions and should sit here with each of his directors and make them defend their budgets line by line.
The governor should submit himself to a continuous Committee of the Whole and agree to answer every question.
With this process, we would be able to help craft a better budget by eliminating waste and duplication. The governor says that there isn’t enough money to accomplish his agenda. Perhaps with an honest and open examination of his proposed budget, we can get there.
The governor needs to stop playing games and posturing and actually do some heavy lifting. He needs to speak for himself and not hide behind his aides. He needs to be honest with the citizens of Illinois and “get to work.”
That’s the least he can do.
This must have been so much fun.