Like a good Illinois Democrat, state Comptroller Susana Mendoza rolled over.

Mendoza had two choices last week after a court ordered her to pay state lawmakers when no budget exists: Immediately appeal or cave. She chose the latter. 

To be fair, Mendoza's office finally filed a notice stating its intent to appeal on Tuesday.

But Mendoza immediately started issuing lawmakers' paychecks following a ruling in Cook County ordering the release of lamakers' paychecks. Mendoza didn't come up with the idea to withhold paychecks for the very people responsible for Illinois' two-year fiscal dumpster fire. Her GOP predecessor, Leslie Munger, died on that hill. Former Gov. Pat Quinn made a go at it, too. 

Quinn couldn't ram the legalization through House Speaker Michael Madigan, a man who concurrently lords over the General Assembly and Illinois Democratic Party. 

Munger's entire campaign was built around the slogan "No budget, no pay." Mendoza co-opted it, too. It's good, populist politics in a state that hasn't actually functioned in almost 700 days. And hitting the Legislature itself squarely in the wallet is probably the only way Illinois' credit-busting impasse ends anytime soon. 

Mendoza's seemingly hollow words, however, flew in the face of her party's don't-rock-the-boat policy, which cares only for 2018's gubernatorial race to the detriment of actual governance. 

The proof is in Mendoza's non-reaction. She could have fought back. She could have requested an immediate stay.


Mendoza's actions don't square with her campaign rhetoric.

It's tiresome to repeatedly run through the ills that plague the state with the lowest credit rating in the nation. It's frustrating to continually write about Illinois' collapsing pension system, failing tax structure and political grandstanding that sacrifices electoral victories for even basic governance.

But it's all true.

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Billions worth of bills are still unpaid. The grownups in Illinois Senate can't hammer out a bipartisan budget deal. Gov. Bruce Rauner has displayed a striking lack of political chops. Speaker Madigan's stranglehold on all things Illinois just won't yield. Union ownership of Illinois' ruling party. And yet, lawmakers still think they should get paid, while so many others aren't. 

Withholding paychecks for legislators doesn't have the best record in the courts. The Legislature lacks the moral compass to put anyone else ahead of itself. So, Illinois staggers along after attaining a dubious distinction that even New York and California avoided in the past decade. 

Illinois is a failed state.

Mendoza might lose should she push the issue to an appellate court. But even a stay of the Cook County ruling, if granted, would apply continued pressure to lawmakers who have proven themselves deaf to their constituents. For a time, it would force legislators to share the burden they have heaped on everyone else. It would show that Illinois' comptroller isn't just another pawn of the Democratic machine.

Mendoza's lack of action so far suggests she's just another slave to Madigan's Chicago Democrats.

Seek a stay, Ms. Mendoza. Anything less will verify our suspicions. 

Correction: The original draft incorrectly stated Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan role in the case. The lawsuit was brought by lawmakers. 

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Local editorials represent the opinion of the Quad-City Times editorial board, which consists of Publisher Deb Anselm, Executive Editor Autumn Phillips, Editorial Page Editor Jon Alexander, City Editor Dan Bowerman, Associate Editor Bill Wundram and community representative John Wetzel.