Rauner lays out his case
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
* Gov. Rauner listed some some pretty compelling reasons this afternoon during a Statehouse press conference why he believes the Democrats ought to pass his stopgap funding proposal. Speaker Madigan has said he would negotiate a temporary budget, but Madigan refused to advance it today.
According to Rauner, Senate President John Cullerton made it clear in the leaders meetings that the non-budget items shouldn’t be voted on until after the election. Quite a few of Rauner’s proposals are not backed by unions, and Cullerton doesn’t want to go against his allies during the election season.
OK, that’s fine, Rauner said. So, he said, let’s pass a stopgap budget to get the state through the rest of this fiscal year and the first half of next fiscal year - without those controversial Turnaround Agenda items. Keep state agencies from imploding. Make sure schools and universities open on time. Make sure human service providers have some funding. And then come back in November and start working again.
Like I said, that’s pretty compelling. I mean, what the heck is the harm in that, unless you truly do want a collapse?
* Rauner also re-started his attacks on House Speaker Michael Madigan, blaming him for high property taxes, unbalanced budgets, population exodus, high unemployment, and pretty much everything else under the sun.
“The Democrats have spent our state into the toilet for 30 years,” Rauner said. “We’re like a banana republic.”
But the hyper-partisan rhetoric aside, he made a reasonable argument.
* When I asked if the stopgap proposal would be taken off the table come June 1st, Rauner wouldn’t say. He also wouldn’t reveal any plans for special sessions.
The governor was asked about a possible bond rating downgrade, but he didn’t directly answer. However, a senior administration official told me, “If the majority fails to act today and the state suffers a credit downgrade because of it, every Democrat in the General Assembly will own that credit downgrade.”