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Rauner Calls Fact that Job Growth Dropped Under Him a “Distraction”

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Rauner Won’t Commit to Preventing Another Budget Stalemate

Here’s the fact that Governor Bruce Rauner wants voters to ignore: job growth dropped dramatically under his watch. Rauner was asked today by the Crain’s Chicago Business editorial board what he makes of the fact that job growth slowed under him. Rauner said it was a “distraction” and a “one or two-year period” isn’t the “core issue at all.” (Watch the video here).

Strangely, Rauner was signing a very different tune as a candidate. Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune points out that Rauner attacked his opponent for being a “failure” because the state was “one of the lowest job-creating states in America.” Yet, it’s now worse under Rauner:

“Job growth in Illinois, which in the last three years of the Quinn administration was 3.57 percent — compared with a 5.31 percent national job-growth rate over the same time — has fallen in the first three years of the Rauner administration to 2.29 percent, about half the 4.82 percent national job-growth rate.”

Crain’s then asked Rauner to commit to avoiding another budget stalemate. No dice. Rauner tried to deflect by blaming others for the impasse and wrapped by saying he would “negotiate in good faith, make compromise, find common ground in every way that I possibly can. And I’ve done that so far.” Except when he torpedoed the budget compromise. 

“Now that job growth dropped dramatically, Bruce Rauner thinks it’s a ‘distraction’ to focus on his failed record,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Rauner clearly does not want to be held accountable for his failed leadership. But facts are facts, and under Rauner Illinois is growing jobs slower and seeing its people leave faster. The state is worse under Bruce Rauner.”


Background Transcript 

Question: “Governor, how do you figure, statistics are pretty clear, job growth in this state was considerably faster under your predecessor when we had the income tax hike. And then when you took over, and it was repealed and there was a stalemate, job growth went way down. How do you figure that?”

Rauner: “I’d say we’ve had terrible, inadequate job growth for decades. And one year over another, or one or two-year period, isn’t the real core issue at all. That’s a distraction. Look at the fundamental trends in our state. We have been one of the worst growing states in America for decades. And we’ve been one of the highest states on government spending growth of any state in America. This is unsustainable. We have got to change it. And the job creators of our state, the business builders of our state – the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Illinois Manufacturers Association, the Black Chamber of Commerce. They are all enthusiastically supporting what I’m trying to do, because they want to invest in Illinois, they want to grow in Illinois, and they know we need to change. 

Question: “[inaudible] Is there a message there, though, that budget stalemates going two years without a budget is not a good idea?”

Rauner: “It’s a terrible idea.” 

Question: “So you’re promising there will not be another stalemate like that?”

Rauner: “Haha, you know what? Speaker Madigan has already indicated, he’s already told members of his caucus that he would love to see another budget stalemate this year. The speaker thrives on that sort of disagreement. That sort of disruption. This is his goal. He views that as politically advantageous for him. That’s a fact. He would love to see that stalemate. I don’t want to see a stalemate. I want more economic growth and truly balanced budgets.”

Question: “Well are you willing to make the kinds of concessions that would be needed to avoid a stalemate. You say you want to repeal this tax, he doesn’t want to repeal this tax.”

Rauner: “So, I was overridden last summer in a massive tax increase with no reforms and a still out of balance budget. Still, even after a massive tax hike, there is still deficit spending, our unpaid bills are still climbing. As they have for years and years and years. This system is broken, Mike Madigan has rigged it to be this way. He’s been in power for 35 years. And he’s run the system for his political benefit rather than what’s good for the people of Illinois. And this is what we need to unite together to change. I believe a new speaker, someone who’s there for the right reasons, not to get rich from high property taxes, which is what Mike Madigan does. Someone who’s there for the right reasons, we can work on a bipartisan basis to get balanced budgets. I know there are Democrats in the General Assembly who’ve I’ve met with who’ve said, “Governor, you’re right. We’d like to work with you but we’re scared….”

Question: “Alright, but if you don’t get a new speaker, are you willing to make the kinds of concessions on repealing the tax, whatever, to avoid another one of these budget stalemates?”

Rauner: “I will negotiate in good faith, make compromise, find common ground in every way that I possibly can. And I’ve done that so far.”