This week the Governor took action to ensure that Illinois schools won’t be used as pawns in the continuing budget gridlock.
Mid-week the Governor signed one budget measure that makes sure Illinois schools are able to open as planned and teachers will be paid. However, the next day he vetoed 19 of the legislative Democrats' budget bills, saying their overall plan is unbalanced and unconstitutional.
In his veto message, Gov. Rauner stated:
“The Speaker of the House and President of the Senate have admitted that the General Assembly’s budget is unbalanced. The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget concurs, calculating that this budget is nearly $4 billion out of balance.
For too long, the State of Illinois has made spending promises that exceed available revenues, relied on accounting gimmicks to make budgets appear balanced, used borrowing and cost deferral strategies to push costs into the future, and delayed payments to vendors.
This has generated significant backlogs of unpaid bills and a crushing debt burden of well over $100 billion. Because of past fiscal mismanagement, Illinois is experiencing the worst fiscal crisis in America, highlighted by Illinois being assigned the worst credit rating of any state.
The State of Illinois will be forced to pay more than $6 billion in debt payments in Fiscal Year 2016 due to years of fiscal neglect and overspending. A balanced budget is the only way to responsibly protect taxpayers and put the State on a path to once again using its resources for important public services rather than interest and debt service.”
In a June 24 op-ed published in the Chicago Tribune, Governor Rauner underscored that Illinois “cannot accept the status quo of throwing more taxpayer money into a broke and broken system.” He emphasized his plan to enact “reasonable and balanced” reforms are imperative to reverse the state’s economic decline.
The Governor is advocating for a property tax freeze, workers’ compensation and lawsuit reforms, term limits and redistricting reform, and he also indicated his commitment to comprehensive pension reform—though he emphasized that pension reform is “not a prerequisite to signing the budget.”
The Governor stressed “We will work day and night with members of the General Assembly to reform state government, modernize our tax code and enact a balanced budget as part of a truly comprehensive solution.”
Read the editorial here.