(Chicago) – Insider: A prelude to a primary campaign?
State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) and Governor Pat Quinn this week both claimed credit for the positive results yielded by Illinois’ new workers’ compensation law, revealing the outlines of how a clash could unfold between the two men in a Democratic primary.
On Monday, the governor’s press office issued a press release exclusively claiming credit for more than $300 million in savings to Illinois businesses thanks to a 2011 workers comp reform law.
“Since the 2011 Workers’ Compensation Reform law championed by Governor Quinn, the department estimates that overall savings have reached $315 million for the Illinois Workers’ Compensation system. With the implementation of the proposed rate reduction, the advisory rate level will have dropped 13.3 percent below the advisory rate level prior to the changes sought and enacted by the governor,” according to the governor’s news release which neglected to cite the law’s sponsors in the legislature.
From soup to nuts, it was all Quinn, says Quinn.
Obviously annoyed by the snub, Raoul, who was the measure’s chief senate sponsor and who is mulling a challenge to Quinn in the March 18, 2014 primary, struck back on Tuesday with his own press statement, both extending credit to the law’s House sponsor and taking a subtle swipe Quinn, noting that the bill’s success was due to the “hard work” at the “negotiating table” – a table at which Quinn was absent, which is Raoul’s drift.
Here’s Raoul’s statement:
“Two years ago, Rep. John Bradley and I brought lawmakers, labor and the business community together to negotiate a solution to an exceedingly complex and divisive problem: the high workers’ compensation premiums that were hampering the state’s economic growth and job creation.
Today, Illinois businesses have already saved $315 million in premiums. Now, with an additional 4.5 percent reduction on the horizon, they stand poised to save $110 million more, with an overall 13.3 percent drop in rates since the reforms were implemented. The outlook is promising for further savings and an even better Illinois business climate.
The continued success of workers’ comp reforms demonstrates that there’s no substitute for sitting down at the negotiating table, taking each other’s concerns seriously and doing the hard work of hammering out an effective compromise.”
It’s clear from Raoul’s statement, reading between the lines, that he thinks Quinn had little to nothing to do with the nuts and bolts of drafting and negotiating the bill.
Raoul has also criticized the governor for failing to appear at any of the pension reform conference committee hearings or meetings, which the senator is co-chairing.
If Raoul decides to run against Quinn, expect him to hammer the governor over for his being absent when the “hard work” of legislating needs to be done.
Few lawmakers – if any – would disagree with him.
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