Rauner Admits He Exacerbated Budget Impasse for His Own Political Gain
Rauner Lamented “Possibility” of Using “Crisis” to Pass Agenda was Lost When Republicans Voted for a Budget
In a Trumpian editorial board meeting yesterday, Governor Bruce Rauner laid to rest any lingering questions about his role in creating and exacerbating the budget crisis. Rauner admits he wanted to use the crisis to pass his political agenda, and lamented to the Chicago Tribune that he “lost” the “possibility of a transformation for the state with the crisis that we had” after Republicans broke ranks in July:
“When Rauner appeared before the Tribune Editorial Board just months into his first term in April 2015, he promoted the idea that ‘Crisis creates opportunity. Crisis creates leverage to change.’ It became a precursor to a historic 736-day budget impasse, a test of wills between his pro-business, union-weakening agenda and labor-backed Democrats who control the legislature […]
Some Republicans joined Democrats in July to end the impasse by passing a major income tax hike and spending plan over Rauner’s vetoes. As a result, the governor said the state had ‘lost’ an opportunity for economic change.
‘We had the possibility of a transformation for the state with the crisis that we had — if we had a principled caucus. It’s the primary reason I ran. We had the opportunity for a massive transformation. We lost that,’ the Republican governor said.”
This spring, Rauner twice pulled back his caucus from negotiating a compromise. He then vetoed the state’s first budget in two-years despite warnings from credit houses that further impasse would lead to a “junk” bond status for the state. Rauner’s budget crisis exploded state debt, slowed job creation, devastated state services, and decimated the state’s higher education system.
Earlier this week, Rauner’s campaign listed the budget veto as a “Top 10 accomplishment.”
“Bruce Rauner just admitted he forced the state to go years without a budget for his own political ambition,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Millions of Illinois residents had their lives disrupted and hurt by the budget impasse, but Rauner shows no remorse for his actions. Rauner only regrets that it did not continue longer. Illinois is worse off because of the budget crisis and Bruce Rauner just admitted he is to blame.”