The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association used approximately 1,260 words Tuesday to rip Governor Bruce Rauner for opening "a new front in the 40-year war on American workers that has left the average person with less wealth, real income, and economic security, and is undermining the strength of our nation."
That's the trial lawyers' language, by the way.
This horrendous conduct by the new governor of Illinois, these terrible threats to American workers (not just Illinoisans), this plundering of income, economic security and "undermining the strength of our nation" apparently is the result of two words Rauner used in his first budget message Wednesday: Lawsuit Reform.
The trial lawyers' rampage was contained in a 67-line (body text only) statement that apparently was widely circulated, including to legislators and the news media shortly after the governor's speech. John Cooney, president of ITLA, is credited as the author of the trial lawyers' statement.
We listened to the governor's speech, and we reviewed the transcript, and we neither heard nor found anything more than this line:
“To grow our economy, we must enact meaningful workers compensation reform, unemployment insurance reform, lawsuit reform, pension reform and tax reform.”
Most Illinois residents realize and agree there are many reforms needed in Illinois. They see Illinois unfavorably compared with neighboring states, even Michigan, which has seen its major city go through bankruptcy. They realize that Illinois can't hold a candle to prosperous neighboring states, including Wisconsin and Indiana.
Illinoisans know that their state has a reputation for government corruption; they read about "judicial hellholes" -- the court systems at opposite ends of Interstate 55.
They know government itself has been a significant part of the problem -- or why would they evict a Democrat from the governor's mansion in a state that has become -- or seemed to have become -- solidly Democratic?
The people of Illinois want change. They voted for that change two months ago and there is now a governor who hears their message, who hears their call, and is prepared to tackle each of our short-comings -- despite which special interest group may be offended by his actions.
Ed Murnane is Past President of the Illinois Civil Justice League.