Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has called state legislators back to Springfield this week to begin 10 special sessions through the end of June.
He says he wants a budget deal, but he also is spending money attacking Democrats. The attacks have come in at least three forms: online ads, direct mail, and TV commercials.
Rauner is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on an ad that declares, “(Democratic House Speaker) Mike Madigan will do anything to keep power.” At the same time, he’s calling for people to “come together” on the state budget.
The commercial says, “Madigan’s puppets blocked the budget.” The ad does not mention that Rauner himself blocked Senate attempts at a bipartisan “grand bargain.”
Rauner is demanding that legislators take up both his economic agenda and a budget.
Senate President John Cullerton, a Democrat, says that’s not way to start negotiations. He conjured an image of sitting down to talk about something with your spouse:
“You don’t really want to start off by saying, you know, before we start, I just wanted to let you know that I always really hated your mother,” Cullerton said.
Cullerton points out that Democrats passed a budget anyway, without Rauner’s participation.
“So for the third year in a row, in May, instead of working on a budget, he’s doing commercials,” Cullerton said. “Seriously! So he can say that we failed to pass him a budget."
Cullerton was speaking on WGN radio’s “The Sunday Spin.”