Thursday, January 17, 2008

House passes transit bill with guv's changes

From Crain's today, the Capitol Fax recorded this at 2:02 this afternoon....

House members approved Gov. Rod Blagojevich's changes to legislation that will prevent deep service cuts at Chicago-area transit systems, but not before angrily accusing the governor of playing political games.

The measure passed 61-47 Thursday and now goes to the state Senate, where it is expected to pass.

The plan would increase sales taxes in the Chicago region to generate transit money. Without the aid, officials plan to slash bus and train routes, raise fares and lay off more than 2,000 employees.

Legislators approved the tax increase last week, but the Democratic governor used his amendatory veto to send the measure back to the General Assembly and demand that senior citizens be given free rides on their local mass transit services.
Mentioned in this article is the bellyaching over Blagojevich's amendatory veto on this transit bailout. Here's some of that story...

His action unleashed a flood of complaints that Blagojevich was endangering the bailout by making last-minute demands. Those complaints dominated Thursday's debate.

Lawmakers of both parties said the free-ride provision was a clumsy attempt by the governor to divert attention from the fact that he was agreeing to a general tax increase, something he had vowed never to do.

"I did not get one phone call in support of the governor's action," said Rep. Harry Osterman, D-Chicago. "I would assume most of the people in the state saw right through his action."
This should have been seen coming because I commented on this at It's My Mind earlier this week. Rep. John Fritchey is planning for file a constitutional amendment to eliminate the governor's power of the amendatory veto. He was quoted as saying on both the Capitol Fax blog and from this Crain's article that...

"If the governor is unable to play with his toys, we will take his toys away from him," Fritchey said.
As for this amendment, it was mentioned on the Capitol Fax blog that...

Amendments approved by the vote of three-fifths of the members elected to each house shall be submitted to the electors at the general election next occurring at least six months after such legislative approval.
I highly doubt the Senate will go along with this, to say the least.
Well we'll see. This might be better off at a state constitutional convention in another two years. This assuming that voters will approve such a convention in the future.

Still I'm glad they are approving the bill now it's necessary even with the unnecessary tinkering.

There is a trailer bill being debated in the Illinois House. SB1409 which applies the Circuit Breaker program for free transit rides.

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