* If you thought that Bruce Rauner would use a budget confab to discuss any of his plans, you were silly…
| Illinoisans eager to find out how their next governor will attack the state’s budget problems are in for a wait.
Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner said Tuesday he has no plans to provide details about his proposed financial fix until after he is sworn in on Jan. 12.
It could be an even longer wait after that. His first budget address of his four-year-term as chief executive isn’t scheduled until Feb. 18.
That leaves issues like the Jan. 1 rollback of the temporary income tax increase and a need by various state agencies for an additional $760 million in limbo.
“We’re not discussing any recommendations we’re making,” Rauner told reporters after a speaking engagement in the capital city.
* But he did say that he found another hole…
He said that state agencies plan to submit at least $760 million in supplemental budget requests just to get them through the current fiscal year that ends June 30.
“Some of the department heads tell us they were told to submit a low budget figure, spend what they wanted and that it would be dealt with after the election,” he said, calling that approach “fundamentally dishonest.”
“I can’t find a really balanced budget as I look back over the years in Illinois,” he said. “If they are spending more than they have budgeted, that will result in more unpaid bills. We’re over $5 billion now and climbing.”
“That means they want to spend a lot more than budget. And what we’ve learned is these department heads were told to submit some low number in the budget, the budget doesn’t really mean anything, put in a low number, spend how you want to spend don’t worry about your budget and then we’ll deal with it after the election. Come on, for 760 million dollars,” said Rauner.
* But this is probably a better explanation…
The Winnetka businessman said agencies have been spending faster than they should instead of making their budgets last a full year.
“This is just them saying, ‘We’ve been spending at a much higher rate than what we put in our budget, the original budget, and now we want more money,’” Rauner said.
He said he’ll be willing to take the heat for short-term troubles but didn’t detail whether he’d deny agencies’ requests for more money.
“Real big change always causes anxiety,” Rauner said. “There’s going to be a lot of pushback on it, but that’s OK.”