Can you donate now to join our fight?

We just launched the Power to Appoint Fund to highlight the important role Dem Govs play to ensure integrity in our country’s judicial process and protect fundamental freedoms. Your support will ensure we can make crucial investments in key states and protect our democracy. Please don’t wait: rush your gift to elect Democratic governors! >>>

Three Years into Rauner’s Term, Illinois Is Worse

Latest News

Rauner Inaugurated Three Years Ago Today, And Little Has Gone Well Since

Exactly three years ago today, Governor Bruce Rauner was inaugurated as Governor of Illinois and the state is worse off for it. Rauner spoke of an “opportunity to accomplish something historic,” to “fix busted budgets”, to “forge a new path” toward  “a brighter future”, and make the state “a national leader in job growth and education quality.”

Illinois residents did not get that bright future. Instead, they suffered national humiliation as the state went two-years without a budget and had its credit rating nearly downgraded to junk bond status. They saw their Governor refuse to compromise, despite the toll his policies were doing on services and job creation. Crain’s Chicago wrote just one year into the two-year impasse, “by nearly every measure, the state is worse off since Rauner took office.” Illinois residents got everything but the turnaround they were promised.

Under Rauner’s failed leadership, Illinois suffered:

  • Slower Job Creation: Illinois is now growing jobs at a much slower rate than when Rauner came into office. Over the past 12 months, Illinois had one of the worst job growth rates in the nation and trailed its neighbors.
  • Accelerating Population Loss: Rauner’s not only failed to stem the population loss, it has gotten worse as more people are leaving the state.
  • Higher Debt: Two years without a budget tripled the state’s bill backlog, which topped off at $16 billion. Interest was due to cost the state nearly $1 billion a year.  
  • Lower Credit Rating: Candidate Bruce Rauner used to attack his rival over lower credit ratings. As Governor, the rating dropped 8 more times and approached junk level.  
  • Lost Services: Rauner forced the state to endure two years without a budget, devastating state services. Under Rauner, 1 million Illinoisans lost access to services. 

It’s even gotten worse for Rauner. Illinois voters disapprove of the job he’s done at nearly double the rate they approve, making him the nation’s “most vulnerable incumbent.”

“Bruce Rauner’s legacy has been set – a failed governor who drove the state further backwards,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “His tenure will be defined by his refusal to compromise, his non-existent leadership, and the two-year budget impasse he said he exacerbated for political purposes. Under Rauner, Illinois continues to lose jobs and people, and debt continues to rise. Rauner claimed he could get it done three years ago, but he has only made things worse.”




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]

From November 2016 to November 2017, Illinois Grew Jobs At A Rate Of 0.4%, Which Was Worst Among Its Neighbors. Illinois grew 25,900 jobs from November 2016 to November 2017 (seasonally adjusted). Illinois ranked 41st in the nation, behind every state it borders. [BLS, Accessed 1/12/18]


2017: Illinois Loses More Than 33,700 Residents, Drops To 6th Largest State. “Illinois declined in population again in 2017, losing its spot as the fifth-largest state in the nation to Pennsylvania, according to census data released Wednesday. Illinois lost about 33,700 residents, dropping the total population to 12,802,023, the greatest numeric population loss of any state. Pennsylvania saw a slight increase, and with a total population of 12,805,537, has outranked Illinois for the first time in years, based on U.S. Census Bureau figures from July 1, 2016, to July 1, 2017. [Chicago Tribune, 12/21/17] 

Illinois’ Population Loss Was Accelerating. “This is the fourth year in a row that Illinois’ population decreased, a troubling trend, according to William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution. ‘It’s not just a one-year blip,’ he said. ‘And the declines continue to get bigger from one year to the next.’” [Chicago Tribune, 12/21/17] 


Chicago Tribune’s Eric Zorn: Illinois Endured Eight Credit Rating Drops Under Bruce Rauner. According to Eric Zorn’s column in the Chicago Tribune, “One of the metrics that candidate Bruce Rauner used in 2014 when he was running for governor against incumbent Pat Quinn was the state’s alarming slide in bond ratings during Quinn’s administration. The three major credit-ratings agencies — Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings, Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service — had dropped Illinois’ rating a net 12 times since Quinn took the oath of office in 2009. More proof, Rauner said, that Quinn was a ‘failure.’ But the slide has continued under Rauner. When Moody’s and S&P both downgraded Illinois on Thursday, it marked the eighth such move during Rauner’s term. Not just continued, but accelerated. Quinn served for just under six years, meaning he averaged one credit downgrade per 181 days in office. Rauner was sworn in a little more than 28 months ago is averaging one credit downgrade every 109 days in office.” [Chicago Tribune, Eric Zorn, 6/2/17]


Reuters Headline: “Illinois’ Unpaid Bill Backlog Hits A Record $16 Billion. [Reuters,  9/19/17]

Illinois’ 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]


Budget Impasse Has Caused More Than 1 Million to Lose Access to Services. According to the Responsible Budget Coalition, “Illinois’ budget impasse has caused more than 1 million people to lose access to critical services – and that toll is increasing every day.” [Responsible Budget Coalition, Fact Sheet, 3/24/17]

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]