Capitol Notebook for weekend of July 5-6.
Play of the Week
Gov. Rod Blagojevich ordered lawmakers to return for special session on Wednesday to address what he says is $2.1 billion hole in the budget they sent him. The Senate has already approved the governor's plans to raise more money for state coffers, and he wants the House to approve those plans too.
But there appears to be insufficient support for those plans among House lawmakers -- particularly now that lawmakers need a three-fifths majority to approve them. Blagojevich may have to make the $1.5 billion in cuts to the budget that he keeps threatening to make -- but that he has steadfastly refused to actually make.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, has taken to questioning the governor's sanity. Spokesman Steve Brown recently twice referred to Blagojevich as "the madman." And when asked about Blagojevich's plans for a special session, Brown encouraged reporters to look up the definition of "sociopath."
A Blagojevich spokeswoman responded to the Chicago Tribune: "He's not a sociopath."
The Southtown Star, a newspaper based in the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park, offered a close-up look at "Blagojevich" the other day. Not the one you're thinking of, though. This Blagojevich is a standardbred horse.
You might say that Blagojevich the horse has politics in his blood. His mother was named Political Promise, and her mother was named Would I Lie.
Quote of Note
"The trend here, to have two years in a row where we're on this kind of brinksmanship, should be totally unacceptable to the taxpayers," Sen. Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, said on Monday while discussing the fact that Illinois state government was about to start a new fiscal year without a new budget.
Number to Know 71 The number of votes it will take in the House next week to pass any of the bills Blagojevich said he needs to help balance the budget. There are 67 Democrats and 51 Republicans in the chamber.
On July 15, state Comptroller Dan Hynes is scheduled to cut payroll checks to some 4,900 state workers. If the state budget isn't finalized by July 10, Hynes has said, he may not be able to send those checks on time.
State Capitol bureau