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Using the dysfunction in Springfield as an excuse for funding messes is such an easy target, the complaints can begin to feel like arrows puncturing the broad side of a barn.

You can't miss if you complain, but the impact of the complaints can rarely be seen.

Social services, public recreation spots, public schools and higher education regularly find themselves on the losing end when it comes to state budget negotiations — not to mention the thousands of businesses that are owned millions of dollars for services rendered.

Yet as we stumble toward a third year of budgetary ineptitude, incompetence and indifference from the state, it is the inability of our lawmakers to accomplish even the most simple tasks of lawmaking that begins to touch more and more of us.

The unwillingness to even make an effort toward making Illinois more business-friendly has wide-ranging effects as well. 

These same political factors think it's tolerable to amass $12.6 billion in unpaid bills along with the myriad other financial problems piling up in this state. 

Moving forward in Springfield is impossible because of equal and opposing forces.

Like it or not, Gov. Bruce Rauner takes much of the heat around the state for the lack of progress toward a budget solution. As governor, it is his responsibility to get the job done and he hasn't done it.  

Why?  Mostly because longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan is an equally imposing roadblock to the state's progress.

We can vote in candidates and pressure them to remove some of Madigan's power.

But in reality, that will take the election of more Republicans to wrest control of the House from the Democrats and thus elect a new speaker, putting Madigan in a minority position.

That's a tall task indeed.

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Meanwhile, too many state Democrats kowtow to Madigan and his dead-end, obstructionist style of government — to the point that he will not be tossed from his position unless he decides to step down. And he's shown no inclination to do that. He likes the power too much.

Still, a handful of Democrats have shown the willingness to buck Madigan, but a lot more are needed to find a solution to this embarrassing situation.

This is not a partisan issue.

Democrats and Republicans share the blame. Rauner appears as stubborn as Madigan when it comes to real compromise. Standing steadfast by your ideals is laudable, but not to the point of allowing ruin to take over.

But, in the end, probably the biggest problems is that the state's power base, from Rockford to Cairo, is determined by a handful of state voters, those in Madigan's district who keep re-electing him.  No term limit talk up there.

Unfortunately, bravery and competence both seem in short supply in Illinois. Still.

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