After yesterday’s election, Democrats will have a supermajority in both the Illinois House and Senate after inauguration on Jan. 8, 2013. Senate Democrats picked up five seats and will have 40 seats in January – Senate Republicans will control only 19 seats.
Illinois House Republicans lost seven seats yesterday, and House Speaker Michael Madigan will control a 71-seat veto-proof majority.
There are many reasons for the huge loss of Republican seats in the Illinois General Assembly: Democrats drew a new district map, Republicans were overwhelmingly outspent in local races, Republicans showed a distinct lack of leadership and policy vision and races were dictated by a national wave driven by President Barack Obama.
Illinois Democrats have ownership of the state of Illinois. In the next two years they must address some big problems. Illinois Democrats own the $203 billion in unfunded pension liability. Illinois Democrats own the $9 billion in unpaid vendor bills. Illinois Democrats own 8.8 percent statewide unemployment. With a supermajority in the House and the Senate, Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton can no longer blame Illinois problems, and its absence of solutions, on a lack of Republican bipartisanship.
Even with Illinois Democrats controlling Illinois’ fate, the Illinois Policy Institute will continue to drive an aggressive and rigorous legislative agenda throughout the fall veto session and the new General Assembly in January. While the Republicans have dropped into a super-minority in both chambers, the Institute’s agenda remains chained to good public policy – a fight that will prevail regardless of the makeup for the Illinois General Assembly.