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Bruce Rauner’s Revelation: He Would Rather Continue Budget Destruction Than Govern

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The Democratic Governors Association, through its Illinois spokesperson Sam Salustro, releases the following statement on Bruce Rauner’s veto of a bipartisan solution to the state’s budget impasse:
“Two years into Bruce Rauner’s self-inflicted crisis, Democrats and Republican lawmakers came together in bipartisan fashion to put the state back on a path of fiscal solvency by passing a budget. Rauner’s impasse has been absolutely destructive for Illinois middle-class families – each resident owes $1,000 more in debt, the state’s economy has slowed to a crawl as jobs and businesses leave the state, schools have been running on empty, and the state’s university system is on the edge of collapse.  By vetoing the measure, Rauner is saying he would rather continue the carnage on working families than accept a bipartisan deal.
“The truth is that Governor Rauner has repeatedly shut down negotiations or stood in the way of compromise. That has never been up for debate. For two weeks, Bruce Rauner sat on the sidelines and demanded a budget without accepting the responsibility of acting like a leader and negotiating a deal himself. Today’s veto confirms Rauner was never interested finding a bipartisan compromise deal that was good for Illinois, only a deal that was good for him.
“Bruce Rauner has failed the leadership test.”


In June 2016 the Editorial Board of Crain’s Chicago Business Argued “By Nearly Every Measure, the State is Worse Off Since Rauner Took Office” Highlighting Pension Liabilities, Unpaid Bills, Cut Social Services, and the State’s Poor Credit Rating. According to the Editorial Board of Crain’s Chicago Business, “But Madigan is not the governor. Rauner is. And there’s no way to deny it: By nearly every measure, the state is worse off since Rauner took office. Pension liabilities now top $110 billion and are rising by the minute. The stack of unpaid bills is ballooning, turning Illinois into a notorious deadbeat. Vital social service agencies are being cut. Students are abandoning the state’s universities. Illinois’ credit rating hovers just above junk-bond range. We’re in Year Two without a budget—and the best hope for one is months away, after the Nov. 8 election. In short, Illinois needs fixing more than ever. No matter how beneficial Rauner’s idea of reform might be for the state’s economy long term, what he’s doing to get there is not working.” [Crain’s Chicago Businesseditorial, 6/25/16]
Sun-Times Editorial: “If No Budget Is Passed And Signed, Gov. Rauner Will Have To Own The Failure.” According to an editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times, “If no budget is passed and signed, Gov. Rauner will have to own the failure. He will have to explain to the voters, as he runs for re-election in 2018, why he felt it was more important to hold out for certain non-budgetary reforms even as our state’s backlog of bills reached $13 billion and public universities suffered mightily and social service providers went unpaid.” [Chicago Sun-Times, Editorial, 5/9/17]

  • Sun-Times Editorial: Rauner Must “Do That Most Basic Job Of A CEO — Get A Budget Done.” According to an editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times, “A governor must govern. He is the state’s chief executive officer. It falls to him, before all others, to do that most basic job of a CEO — get a budget done.” [Chicago Sun-Times, Editorial, 5/9/17]

Illinois Is The Only State In The Past 80 Years To Go An Entire Year Without A Full Operating Budget. According to Reuters, “A political stalemate between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Democrats who control the legislature had left Illinois as the only U.S. state without a full budget for fiscal 2016, which ends at midnight. The nation’s fifth-largest state has limped through the year, relying on court-ordered spending and ongoing and stopgap appropriations to operate in the wake of the impasse. Illinois is the only state in the past 80 years to go an entire year without a full operating budget.” [Reuters, 7/1/16]
Rauner Twice Blocked Votes On The Grand Bargain. According to Politico’s Illinois Playbook, “Since January, the negotiations have been on the state Senate side, mainly because President John Cullerton and GOP Leader Christine Radogno eschewed party politics and the ongoing feud between Madigan and Rauner to reach a compromise. But Rauner has twice halted voting on the Grand Bargain, saying it didn’t go far enough.” [Politico, Illinois Playbook, 5/11/17]
State Journal-Register Editorial: Rauner “Derailed” The Grand Bargain Budget Compromise.  According to an editorial in the State Journal-Register, “And progress was happening under Senate President John Cullerton’s and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno’s Grand Bargain budget compromise, which had been chugging along until Rauner’s concerns about aspects of it derailed its momentum.” [State Journal-Register, Editorial, 4/8/17]
NPR Illinois: “It Seems Clear That It Was The Governor’s ‘Intercession’ That Made At Least Some Republican Senators ‘Reconsider’ Their Support For The Grand Bargain.” According to NPR Illinois, “That said, Althoff, like all six Republican senators who spoke to me for this story, either say they support the governor or are at least happy to have a Republican governor to work with. Be that as it may, it seems clear that it was the governor’s ‘intercession’ that made at least some Republican senators ‘reconsider’ their support for the grandbargain.” [NPR Illinois, 3/22/17]
Chicago Tribune Editorial: Rauner Helped Kill The Grand Bargain. According to an editorial by the Chicago Tribune, “He introduced a budget blueprint in February that relied on a Senate compromise getting to his desk — and then he helped kill that compromise. Rauner and Senate Republicans threw cold water on the deal two months into negotiations, saying it didn’t go far enough to reform state government.” [Chicago Tribune, Editorial, 4/10/17]
Rockford Register Star Editorial: “Rauner’s Makin’ The Rounds Instead Of Governin.’” According to a Rockford Register Star editorial, “Why stay in Springfield to work on a state budget when you can tour the cornfields and coffee shops of Illinois? We are talking about Gov. Bruce Rauner, of course, who this week made a campaign jaunt around Illinois a year and a half before the November 2018 election, and nearly a year before the March 2018 primary.” [Rockford Register Star, 4/13/17]
BGA: “For Three Years Running, Rauner Has Proposed Budgets He Has Claimed Were Balanced But Were Anything But.” According to the Better Government Association, “For three years running, Rauner has proposed budgets he has claimed were balanced but were anything but. The school funding boast is technically accurate but ignores context: higher general aid levels he achieved were a benchmark originally set for 2010, and the state fiscal crisis under his watch has led to major delays in paying other obligations to school districts.” [Better Government Association, Matt Dietrich, 5/30/17]
Rich Miller: Rauner “Never Once Proposed A Balanced Budget.” According to Rich Miller’s column in Crain’s, “Trouble is, he’s never once proposed a balanced budget and can’t get anything else passed. Rauner is heading into a reelection campaign without much of anything to show for his time in office. Hence, the duct tape ads.” [Crain’s Chicago Business, 3/31/17]
HEADLINE: “With eye on 2018, Illinois governor says ‘Don’t blame me’” [Associated Press, 1/26/17]

  • January 2017: Rauner’s Strategy for Keeping His Job Includes “Blaming Others For The Things Going Horribly Wrong.” According to the Associated Press, “With crises mounting around him, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s strategy for fending off potential Democratic challengers and keeping his job in 2018 includes stressing the bright spots while blaming others for the things going horribly wrong.” [Associated Press, 1/26/17]

Zorn: “Rauner Has Refused To Acknowledge That He Shares The Blame In Any Way For The Mess And Continues To Insist On Certain Changes.” According to Eric Zorn’s column in the Chicago Tribune, “Rauner has refused to acknowledge that he shares the blame in any way for the mess and continues to insist on certain changes — a property tax freeze lasting at least four years is his latest must-have — before he’ll even consider a budget proposal. Given that this tactic isn’t working and shows no signs of working, WBEZ-FM host Tony Sarabia had a good question for Rauner Friday during the governor’s monthly appearance on the station: ‘What have you said today that was different than what you’ve said in the past?’ ‘Well, Tony,’ Rauner said. ‘When we’re on a path, a good path, to change the system, there is no reason for different answers.’” [Chicago Tribune, Eric Zorn, 6/2/17]
In April 2017, Rauner Was Asked If He Would Hire Someone Who Offered As Many Excuses As He Had, Rauner Blamed Rigged System. From an interview on the Big John And Ray show, HOWELL: “You’re running for reelection and you’re saying the General Assembly has blocked us, things are unfair, the system is rigged. It’s one excuse after another. Would you hire somebody who came in and just offered one excuse after another?” RAUNER: “Well, that’s interesting, I’ve never heard Madigan’s majority called an excuse. The reality is they rigged the system. It’s broken. It’s the reason we lead the nation in property taxes. It’s the reason we lead the nation in out-migration. They’re the reason we have so much cronyism and corruption. The system’s broken, it’s rigged by career politicians. And I’m the one person as a volunteer – I’m not taking any compensation, I’m doing this because I love Illinois. I’m fightin’ against that corrupt machine and we’re gonna win ’cause it’s the right thing for the people of Illinois.” [WLS-AM, Big John And Ray Show, 4/11/17]