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Rauner’s Failed Economic Record Slammed by National Republicans

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Rauner Graces the Front of National Review – “Worst Republican Governor in America”


The most vulnerable incumbent Governor in the nation is gracing the front of the National Review next month, but not in a good way. The conservative magazine’s lead story calls Rauner “The Worst Republican Governor in America” and warned that he “confronts a problem that few would have predicted as recently as last spring: a possible Republican meltdown in the Land of Lincoln.” Rauner, sitting at a 34% approval rating in Illinois, is facing turmoil in his own party – he faces a conservative primary opponent and lost the support of 4 of the state’s 7 sitting Republican Congressmen. 

The National Review looks into how Rauner found himself in such dire straits, and focuses on his economic and fiscal record:

“This much is clear: Illinois hardly could do worse. It suffers from one of the weakest economies in the nation, with the slowest personal-income growth, low labor-force participation, and distressing levels of manufacturing-job losses. Its tax burden is among the heaviest in the country. It has the lowest credit rating of any state (just a notch above junk-bond status) and the highest level of unfunded pension liabilities (about $250 billion, according to Moody’s). Four of its last ten governors have wound up in prison. ‘Illinois is worth fighting for,’ says Rauner in his new campaign ad — but many of its citizens have chosen to flee. The state has lost population every year since 2014.”

The National Review recounted the state’s two-year budget crisis and pointed out that Rauner never offered a balance budget to lead the state out of the impasse:

“Meanwhile, Springfield’s unpaid bills approached $15 billion. Stories in the media described everything from hospitals that halted expansion projects to chemistry professors who said they couldn’t buy printer ink. ‘Our state is in real crisis,’ said Rauner. Although conservatives grumbled about Rauner’s tactics — why didn’t he put forth his own balanced budget? — they also wanted to stand by a governor they still viewed as an ally. Many Republicans, however, began to grow restive.’”

Rauner is a failed governor, and the National Review will not be the last outlet to point It out.

“Democrats and Republicans have finally found something they agree on – Bruce Rauner is the worst,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Rauner cannot even count on the support of his own party in Illinois and conservative leaders have concluded that Illinois is worse off with him at the helm. Under Rauner, the state endured a two-year budget impasse that drove up debt, drove out jobs and people, and devastated the state’s services. The facts are undeniable – Bruce Rauner has failed.”



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 Business editorial, 6/25/16]

Illinois Had The Longest Budget Impasse Since The Great Depression. “The Illinois House voted Thursday to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s vetoes of a budget package, giving the state its first spending blueprint in more than two years and ending the nation’s longest fiscal stalemate since at least the Great Depression.” [Associated Press, 7/6/17]

June 2017: Illinois Had Its Bond Rating Downgraded To “The Lowest Ranking on Record for a U.S. State.” According to the Chicago Tribune, “Illinois had its bond rating downgraded to one step above junk by Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings, the lowest ranking on record for a U.S. state, as the long-running political stalemate over the budget shows no signs of ending.” [Chicago Tribune, 6/2/17]

Illinois’ Bill Backlog Tripled Since 2015. According to an editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times, “$14.5 billion: Dollar damage of those unpaid bills. The backlog has tripled since 2015 and, at this pace, will reach $28 billion by 2021. At that time, it will consume 80 percent of the state’s budget.” [Chicago Sun-Times, Editorial, 6/1/17]

Rich Miller: Rauner “Inherited An Economy” That Was Growing Jobs, “Only To Slow To A Crawl In The Past 19 Months.” According to Rich Miller’s column in Crain’s Chicago Business, “Rauner inherited an economy that, according to the same Illinois Department of Employment Security data he uses, added 61,500 jobs in 2013 and 84,600 in 2014, before Rauner was inaugurated, only to slow to a crawl in the past 19 months, despite a tax cut that took effect at the beginning of 2015. So far this year, the ‘Trade, Transportation and Utilities’ sector has lost 9,300 jobs.” [News-Gazette, Rich Miller, 8/25/17]

Before Rauner, Illinois’ GDP Grew Faster Than All Bordering States, By 2016 It Grew The Slowest, Tied With Iowa. According to the Wall Street Journal, “In 2014, the state’s gross domestic product was growing faster than any other bordering state. In 2016, Illinois grew slower than all bordering states except for Iowa, with which it was tied.” [Wall Street Journal, 6/27/17]