* An appropriate venue…
The people of Illinois sent me to Springfield to end the era of unbalanced budgets and runaway debt. The road back to fiscal sanity starts today with my veto of a budget that is nearly $4 billion out of balance and includes no reform. We cannot accept the status quo of throwing more taxpayer money into a broke and broken system.
Rather than repeating the mistakes of the past — just kicking the can and raising taxes without real reform — now is our chance to transform Illinois to make it more competitive and compassionate.
The Rauner administration is proposing reforms that are reasonable and balanced, where many of the elements have been adopted by other states as well as the federal government. If Republicans and Democrats commit to working together, we can reach a bipartisan, common-sense agreement to reverse economic Illinois’ decline and set the stage for a bright future. In fact, we have the opportunity now not only to turn around Illinois but also put Chicago and its school system on a sustainable path. […]
At the request of Senate President John Cullerton, we are prepared to reform Illinois’ school funding formula as part of our tax freeze package. A commission charged with rewriting the formula would report back by the end of 2016, with the current funding formula expiring six months later. As part of the compromise, we would allow the state to pay normal costs for Chicago teacher pensions, as it does for all other Illinois school districts, in exchange for sun-setting Chicago’s special block grants. [Emphasis added.]
Go read the whole thing. This’ll get buried under today’s Obamacare news, so it may be even better than a Friday dump.
…Adding… I skipped over this in my initial reading…
We can deliver comprehensive pension reform by taking elements of Senate President Cullerton’s model, along with revised portions of my administration’s plan, to encourage more government employees to move into tier 2 or tier 3 programs. In the compromise, we are willing to support Cook County’s pension reform plan and allow Chicago and downstate communities to implement longer, slower pension payment schedules.
Pension reform is not a prerequisite to signing the budget, but it should be completed this year. I’m committed to it, and I ask for the legislative leaders to be equally committed.
…Adding… The veto message language…
Today I veto House Bill 4146 from the 99th General Assembly in order to protect Illinois taxpayers from an unbalanced and therefore unconstitutional budget.
The Speaker of the House and President of the Senate have admitted that the General Assembly’s budget is unbalanced. The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget concurs, calculating that this budget is nearly $4 billion out of balance.
For too long, the State of Illinois has made spending promises that exceed available revenues, relied on accounting gimmicks to make budgets appear balanced, used borrowing and cost deferral strategies to push costs into the future, and delayed payments to vendors.
This has generated significant backlogs of unpaid bills and a crushing debt burden of well over $100 billion. Because of past fiscal mismanagement, Illinois is experiencing the worst fiscal crisis in America, highlighted by Illinois being assigned the worst credit rating of any state.
The State of Illinois will be forced to pay more than $6 billion in debt payments in Fiscal Year 2016 due to years of fiscal neglect and overspending. A balanced budget is the only way to responsibly protect taxpayers and put the State on a path to once again using its resources for important public services rather than interest and debt service.
A balanced budget is not just good practice, it is a constitutional requirement: “Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year.” Ill. Const. art. VIII, sec. 2(b). Although the General Assembly has chosen to disregard its constitutional obligation, as Governor I cannot approve a budget that violates this fundamental principle.
We must be partners in enacting a balanced budget that meets critical public needs within the resources available. The surest way to do that is by enacting structural reforms inside government and economic reforms that stimulate our economy and bring new jobs to Illinois.
Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of Article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return House Bill 4146, entitled “AN ACT making appropriations”, with the foregoing objections, vetoed in its entirety.