Ho ho ho! Outgoing Gov. Quinn has the last laugh, or so he thinks.
A headline in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal captured the situation perfectly, conflating the spirit of the season with the spitefulness of our recently defeated chief executive: “The Quinn Stocking-Stuffers.”
For readers blessed to live in states other than ours and possibly puzzled by the reference, the subhead noted that “America’s worst Governor goes out after bestowing presents on the trial lawyers.”
“America's worst Governor,” indeed. That was a phrase worth repeating, and repeated, it was, in the lead paragraph.
“Illinois voters booted Governor Pat Quinn in November,” the article began, “but America’s worst Governor isn’t leaving without handing one more windfall to his pals in the plaintiffs bar. Last week he signed a pair of bills passed by the Democratic lame-duck legislature to end the statute of limitations on asbestos lawsuits and cut the number of jurors on civil cases in half.”
We lambasted the legislative legerdemain two weeks ago, noting that amendments to SB 2221 had passed along party lines just days after being introduced.
We predicted that abolition of the statute of limitations would increase Madison County's already bloated asbestos docket, encourage targeting of new classes of asbestos defendants, make our state's business environment even less friendly, and be challenged as unconstitutional.
All of which is a price the trial bar is willing to let the rest of us pay if it redounds to their benefit.
As the Journal concluded, “The biggest loser is the Illinois economy, which is already the poorest performing in the Great Lakes region. Making the state a trial-lawyer mecca is another reason – along with its high corporate tax rate and public-union dominance – to locate a business somewhere else.”
The good news is that Pat Quinn will soon be forgotten and never brought to mind, and we the people, whose trust he abused, can start cleaning up the mess he made.