So how did that meeting between Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner, House Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton go?
“The Speaker described it as a productive meeting and one where there was general consensus that the state budget will be one of the biggest challenges, given that the tax rate will be going down at the first of the year,” Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said.
“It was described as a productive, professional meeting.”
So, in a word, “productive”?
And that’s good, right?
It’s the word Madigan used in January 2013 to describe a closed-door meeting between legislative leaders and Gov. Pat Quinn to try to solve the state’s pension crisis in the final days of that year’s lame-duck session.
The powerful Southwest Side Democrat called the two-hour Saturday session a “productive meeting ” with “a lot of good ideas exchanged.” He told reporters he was eager to pass a bill.
Quinn did sign a $160 billion pension-reform package some 11 months later. Of course, that bill has not exactly produced an end to the pension crisis.
Then there was the 2007 meeting between then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Madigan and then-Senate President Emil Jones.
“We had a really good and productive meeting. We were very pleased Speaker Madigan was able to join Gov. Blagojevich and Senate President Jones,” Deputy Gov. Sheila Nix said afterward.
That was the big breakthrough that meeting “produced” —the three Chicago Democrats actually sitting down in the same room and talking to one another for 40 minutes.
Back in 1997, then-Gov. Jim Edgar spent three hours meeting with legislative leaders in an effort to reform education funding. Edgar’s big stumbling block was persuading fellow Republicans Senate President James “Pate” Philip and House Minority Leader Lee A. Daniels to accept an income tax increase in return for property tax relief.
“It was a very productive meeting, [but] still a lot of questions need to be answered,” Daniels told reporters.
What did that meeting produce?
An agreement to hold more meetings.
Those meetings were probably productive, too, although we’re still waiting for the education funding fix.