|Madigan looks to eliminate Lt. Gov.|
|Written by Mason Souza Daily Vidette Staff Write,r|
|Wednesday, 24 February 2010 00:00|
Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives Mike Madigan has proposed a constitutional amendment aiming to eliminate Illinois’ lieutenant governor position.
The proposal has drawn heat from democrats who claim the idea is rash and should be handled with care. Jason Nippa, president of College Democrats, gave his thoughts on the proposal.
“I would like to review both of the propositions before I pick one either way,” he said. “I don’t necessarily know that we would want to do away with this position right away.”
“I haven’t noticed some large gaping hole in state government,” Nippa said. “It’s been able to function.”
Robert Bradley, professor of politics and government, said the state will not miss much without a lieutenant governor.
“The way it’s currently structured according to the Illinois constitution, it’s a position that has no official duties,” he said. “Unlike the vice president for the U.S., where the vice president is given the duty of presiding over the U.S. Senate, the lieutenant governor has no such duty,” Bradley said.
Personal politics are a factor in the debate over the positions future, with some questioning Madigan’s motives.
“I find it interesting that Mike Madigan is making this proposal,” Bradley said. “It would possibly benefit his daughter.”
Lisa Madigan, Illinois’ Attorney General, would be next in line for governor after the lieutenant governor.
“One wonders whether that entered into his calculus or not,” Bradley said. “I would think it’s something he probably thought about.”
The $2.5 million budget of the lieutenant governor’s office may become a cost-saving concern in the state’s budget.
“Perhaps it doesn’t seem like a lot of money but I think it’s important that we’re fiscally responsible with the people’s money,” Nippa said.
Treasurer for College Republicans Andrew Larson said he thought Madigan had “a serious point that there shouldn’t be a lieutenant governor.”
He suggested that having someone besides the lieutenant governor watching the governor could be more efficient than the old system.
“A lieutenant governor may be just as corrupt as a governor, maybe even more,” Larson said.
Larson said he thinks the lieutenant governor’s job can be easily divided.
“I believe that the less government we have, the better,” Larson said. “The actions of their office can be spread out to the other areas of the executive branch of the Illinois government.”
If the lieutenant governor position was removed, Larson said he hoped it would be the beginning of a few changes.
“I think it is a step in the right direction to start cutting down some of the bureaucratic government we have in Illinois,” he said.
Bradley encouraged citizens to weigh the values of other positions along with lieutenant governor.
“Another thing I think should be thought about a little bit is the comptroller, the treasurer and the auditor positions,” Bradley said. “One would think that given tough economic times one might want to think a little bit about those positions.”
Larson said what ultimately needs to be done is “serious upheaval of the way business is done [in Illinois].”
“It’s the culture of Springfield and it certainly needs to change,” he said.
An issue that will surely arise around November is how the proposal will affect candidates running for the lieutenant governor position.
“Any time they’re getting rid of your potential job, you’re getting wary,” Nippa said.