A Surreal Year for Illinois

As 2016 wraps up, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary announced their annual "word of the year." Merriam-Webster is able to do this by tracking how often a specific word's definition is searched online, and how often search spikes occur. For 2016, that word is "surreal." Other words that made the Merriam-Webster's "Top 10 for 2016," include "Bigly," "Deplorable," and "Feckless."

Thinking back on this year surreal perfectly describes the Illinois legislature. The staunch opposition from Speaker Madigan to support bipartisan reforms is impossible to rationalize or defend. This feckless nature of how he governs is downright deplorable.  Illinois residents aren't just telling legislators they want a change in government through letters and phone calls anymore, they're telling legislators in droves with their feet by taking their talent and money to a state that can do better for them. 

Illinois is the only state in the Midwest that saw a population decline for 2016. You'd think after a third consecutive year of losing millennials, families, skilled workers, and tax dollars to other states Springfield would be energized for reforms. Instead Illinoisans continue to be caught in a never ending cycle.
No budget fix. Just more gamesmanship...and a group of democratic legislators sue for their pay and refuse to fix Illinois

Unfortunately, no progress was made on budget negotiations. The primary focus of negotiations during veto session was over passing taxpayer funded subsidies to support the Quad Cities and Clinton nuclear power plants, which are among six nuclear plants in Illinois. 

Exelon for the past several months has been threatening a shutdown of its financially struggling nuclear power plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities if the General Assembly did not approve additional subsidies and rate increases. Initially, many in opposition to this bill referred to it as the Exelon Bailout Bill. The bill went through several changes. Initially containing a controversial new "demand charges" billing system. In addition to, unknown rate hikes, massive taxpayer subsidies for coal, wind, and solar energy industries, to name a few. To garner support for their proposal Exelon advertised this bill as the Future Energy Jobs bill claiming to keep jobs in Illinois along with supporting green energy expansion. I will admit Exelon and its supporters worked very diligently and in a compromising fashion to craft this bill from a bailout to something palatable; however, in the end, I could not endorse it.