Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 - Rauner admin responds *** Mendoza: “Rauner is trying to drive our State into bankruptcy”
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*** UPDATED x1 - Rauner admin responds *** Mendoza: “Rauner is trying to drive our State into bankruptcy”

Tuesday, Mar 7, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

With no relief in sight, Illinois’ finances deteriorated at an alarming rate in fiscal year 2016 as net deficit totals spiked to a staggering $126.7 billion, according to an annual report released on Tuesday by the Office of Illinois State Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza.

The State’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, paints a worsening outlook for the State’s financial future on this unsustainable path.

Mendoza said the CAFR findings reflect a lawless fiscal climate.

“Volumes of research go into this report, but I can summarize our State finances in one word: Abysmal,” she said. “During Governor Rauner’s first two years in office, our State moved from a budget impasse to a budget crisis. This third year of his administration has the makings of a complete financial meltdown. His failure in leadership has been so spectacular that, no aspect of the State has been spared. The numbers back that up.”

The 375-page report released publicly Tuesday provides numerous insights into Illinois’ ongoing financial decline:

    The State’s total net deficit increased by $5.7 billion from $121 billion in June 2015, to $126.7 billion as of June 2016. The lion’s share of that liability is a pension shortfall of $116 billion;
    The General Fund’s deficit increased by $2.7 billion, from $6.8 billion to $9.5 billion;
    The State is spending less on its neediest residents: spending on health and social service programs dropped by $834 million in FY2016;
    The 2015 expiration of the temporary tax increase cost the State $3 billion in revenue in FY2016;
    As of June 2016, the State’s total outstanding bonded debt is $30.7 billion. The State paid $1.5 billion in interest on its borrowing in FY2016;
    We are forced to spend more on debt service ($3.6 billion) than on public protection and justice ($3.1 billion);
    The backlog of delayed payments to Illinois doctors and hospitals for treating patients on state health insurance, under Section 25 liabilities, has more than doubled from $1.9 billion to $4.3 billion.

While bond sales have provided the State a temporary lifeline, the cost of borrowing is going up. The State’s general obligation bond ratings were not favorable last June and both Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings have since downgraded their ratings to BBB with a Negative Outlook.

Three years ago those bond rating agencies said the state was on the right track out of this mess. But they now universally point to Governor Rauner’s failure to propose a balanced budget – or to hold budget proposals hostage to passage of his various unrelated pet projects – as the main cause of Illinois’ downward financial spiral: “Illinois’ fiscal crisis is, in our view, a man-made byproduct of policy ultimatums placed upon the state’s budget process,” Standard & Poor’s wrote in its most recent critique.

Mendoza said without principled leadership and a complete budget that provides for a sustainable financial future, the outlook remains bleak.

“The Governor is required by the State Constitution to prepare and submit a balanced budget to the legislature, but last month he handed the General Assembly a proposal in which expenditures exceeded revenues by $7 billion. Then he killed what was supposed to be a bipartisan Senate ‘Grand Bargain’ that could have provided a path to a better financial future. With 90 percent of State spending managed by court order, no plan to normalize our fiscal situation, and his recent establishment of ‘government shutdown prevention funds,’ it looks like Governor Rauner is trying to drive our State into bankruptcy,” she said.

The governor’s proposed expenditures exceeded revenues by $4.6 billion. If nothing was done, then spending would’ve been about $7 billion higher than revenues, but that’s the whole idea of a budget plan - to match spending with revenues. Rauner obviously didn’t do that, but this is a mistake that’s also been made by Senate President Cullerton and a few Chicago reporters. The comptroller shouldn’t do it. The actual facts are bad enough.

Anyway, the report is here.

*** UPDATE ***  From Eleni Demertzis in the governor’s press office…

“As a decade long member of the General Assembly, Comptroller Mendoza was a leader in passing the very policies that helped plunge our state into its dire fiscal situation. The governor continues pushing for a truly balanced budget along with changes to our system that create jobs, strengthen schools and provide for our human services.

Instead of issuing press releases and pointing fingers, Madigan’s Comptroller should be urging her former colleagues in the General Assembly to help us pass a truly balanced budget and much needed structural changes.”


  1. - RNUG - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:12 am:

    This report highlights one indisputable fact: even without a buffet, a tax hike is REQUIRED just to meet the court ordered spending.

  2. - RNUG - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:14 am:

    Budget, not buffet … Darned autocorrect … Although it does kind of make sense with buffet too.

  3. - Nero's Fiddle - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:14 am:

    Or, as Rauner would put it, “Everything is proceeding according to my original plan. Illinois will be bankrupt, but at least the Illinois Public Service Unions will all be dead”.

  4. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:15 am:

    Rauner has to destroy the village in order to save it.

    He bought state government with his own money. It is now just one giant entitlement program for a retired hobbyist.

  5. - downstate commissioner - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:16 am:

    It’s too bad that were she to run for governor, Brucey would immediately start screaming “Madigan!”

  6. - RNUG - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:16 am:

    As to the headline, we should not be surprised; after all, that WAS Rauner’s preferred method of business and how he made much of his money.

  7. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:19 am:

    ==even without a buffet, a tax hike is REQUIRED==

    This is my new favorite auto-correct, and I’m not sure that a buffet *wouldn’t* improve the state’s fiscal situation.

  8. - Bobby Catalpa - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:20 am:

    I said this before — but, man, if I were Rauner I’d start thinking about how people are going to view my tenure as Governor of Illinois.

    I mean, no matter what happens — if 250,000 jobs suddenly appeared — Rauner’s legacy is going to be absolutely abysmal. And there’s not much time left to even head a little bit north and hope for the best.

    It’s remarkable. It really is. He truly does not care. About the state, its citizens, his legacy. He’s just going to burn it down and walk away.

  9. - JB13 - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:26 am:

    Illinois does need more quality buffets, particularly for brunch.

    As for the court-ordered spending: If the court has ordered spending, and a tax increase is required to pay for it, does that not mean the court has ipso facto ordered a tax increase?

  10. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:28 am:

    Any sighting yet of that robust web/social media presence Madigan promised that the Dems were going to launch a couple of months ago?

    How much more content does Rauner have to provide them before they get off their tukkus and fight back in the public square?

    It’s criminal malpractice and straight up stupid and lazy.

  11. - WhoKnew - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:30 am:

    Hey ck!

    Spin that!/s

  12. - Nero's Fiddle - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:30 am:

    Driving the state into bankruptcy is just a tool for Rauner to accomplish his main goal - the destruction of all public sector unions in Illinois.

  13. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:30 am:

    Nice partisan shot by Mendoza. Of course she can’t bothered to also state that the Dems have just as much fault in that they actually pass the legislation for a balanced budget and haven’t done so. So let’s just all be honest and admit everyone has culpability here. Can we do that folks, can we be honest about this mess?

  14. - cdog - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:32 am:

    Regardless of the abstract political principles involved, the math, and the damages, are real.

    It’s very possible that the incoming chaos from Rauner’s orchestrated debt fiasco will be unmatched.

    The lack of navigation skills displayed by the Captain have put us all in danger.

  15. - Norseman - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:34 am:

    RNUG, I liked buffet. What a better way of taking our minds off the miserable state of State government than to graze our way through a buffet.

  16. - Henry Francis - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:40 am:

    “I’ve been successful at everything I’ve ever done.”

    Real Bruce Rauner

    He IS succeeding here.

    And he is a persistent rascal.

  17. - Anon - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:50 am:

    === Can we be honest about this mess? ===

    If everyone is equally culpable, that’s like saying no one is particularly responsible. The Governor has a constitutional duty to propose a balanced budget. He has failed to perform that duty for three years. Yet Republicans can’t even admit that much.

  18. - Anon - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:53 am:

    === Rauner is trying to drive the state into bankruptcy. ===

    If state bankruptcy were a legal option, would anyone be surprised if Rauner took it?

  19. - RNUG - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:56 am:

    == As for the court-ordered spending: If the court has ordered spending, and a tax increase is required to pay for it, does that not mean the court has ipso facto ordered a tax increase? ==

    The courts may well imply it, but they won’t order a tax increase. It’s that seperate of powers issue. The most the courts will do is what they have already done, order something to be paid and leave it up to the Legislative and Executive branches to figure out HOW to pay what the courts have ordered.

  20. - walker - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:04 am:

    Agree that the numbers are bad enough to tell the story, and Mendoza should make hard-hitting summary statements, without resorting to characterizing Rauner’s ideological intentions. It lessens her impact to be so obviously political.

    However, if Mendoza suckers Rauner into punching down, then the broader Dem mission is accomplished.

  21. - facts are stubborn things - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:06 am:

    Never in the course of Illinois history has so few(Gov. Rauner and the Republicans he controlls) done so much harm to so many with so little regard with who gets hurt.

  22. - AC - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:08 am:

    Maybe it’s time for me to stop worrying about the future of Illinois and borrow every dollar I can in order to short Illinois bonds of various types.

  23. - facts are stubborn things - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:14 am:

    - AC - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:08 am:

    =Maybe it’s time for me to stop worrying about the future of Illinois and borrow every dollar I can in order to short Illinois bonds of various types. =

    LOL, believe me I understand your sentiments, but actually this is probably a great time to purchase new issue Illinois debt. You are getting a very good return for a bond that will pay interest and principle upon maturity. Rauner will destroy the poorest among us (to include AFSCME if he can) but bond holders will be made whole.

  24. - facts are stubborn things - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:18 am:

    Rauner is doing exactly what he said he would do.

  25. - RNUG - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:26 am:

    Given his actions, you have to wonder if Rauner even knows that states are not allowed to take bankruptcy? Or is he (and ALEC) counting on a newly conservative Congress and SCOTUS to change the rules?

  26. - Anotheretiree - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:38 am:

    I’ve suspected that bankruptcy was his fall back end game. I just can’t understand why he isn’t kissing up to Trump. He’ll need his support for the federal law change.

  27. - BK Bro - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:40 am:

    Not to worry - Chance the Rapper is ALL OVER THIS!

  28. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:06 pm:

    She says this like she’s surprised. Is she newly elected?

    Bankrupcy is Rauner’s Plan A, all along.

    Electing Rauner governor is like choosing a mortician to be your surgeon.

  29. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:23 pm:

    To the Rauner update…

    ===…along with changes…===


    Hostages until I get what I want.

    Appreciate that. Always good to be reminded.

  30. - A Jack - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:37 pm:

    To the Update: And your balanced budget proposal is where?

  31. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:44 pm:

    Take a shot every time the governor’s office lies about him proposing a “truly balanced budget.”

  32. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:48 pm:

    It’s moving into my top 5 pet peeves that people are saying ” he’s just doing what he said he would. “. As if this somehow absolves him and the person says it.

    That’s total bullcrap.

    Nobody could ever have known the horrific things Rauner has shown himself capable of. One word


    No he didn’t tell us at all what he was going to do.

    And most importantly it absolves no one of trying to find solutions out of this horror show.

  33. - A Jack - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:49 pm:

    And you know what, Governor? People knew Mendoza’s record and still elected her to the job over your appointee.

    When you were elected, Governor, you didn’t have a political record. But you sure have a political record now, one of back to back failures regarding the budget. Good luck running on that record. (And when I say good luck, I mean it sarcastically).

  34. - Ahoy! - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:54 pm:

    The problem with this back and forth is that they are both wrong. Rauner has not gotten anything done as Governor and Mendoza has been part of the problem in the House as the Illinois Democrats have brought on many of the problems we face today.

    Let’s face it, they are both just terrible.

  35. - btowntruth from forgottonia - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:54 pm:

    “Madigan’s Comptroller”

    And how exactly does that garbage comment help?

  36. - Henry Francis - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:59 pm:

    “Madigan’s Comptroller” and “Madigan’s Mayor” and “Madigan’s Rapper” are all tiresome and unhelpful.

    But they ain’t going away.

    So why not own it? After all, Madigan’s Comptroller beat Rauner’s Comptroller. What does that say?

  37. - btowntruth from forgottonia - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 1:01 pm:

    NeverPoliticallyCorrect,you must have missed the “Madigans Comptroller” partisan shot thingy.

    Or is it ok if your side does it?

  38. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 1:01 pm:

    ===…Madigan’s Comptroller…===

    “Rauner’s Comptroller” lost by 4 points just last November.

    “Rauner’s Comptroller” spends her day mocking Illinois, collecting a pay check for duties that include long term budgeting (while Illinois never had a budget her entire time as Comptroller) and assisting social services in their payments (while as comptroller had stated the plan was to pick and choose those in need, no matter ALL had signed. contracts).

    Essentially, “Rauner’s Comptroller” mocks the state of Illinois daily, trolling “taxpayers” in a created position that would not be needed… if Rauner had a budget. Today.


    “Madigan’s Comptroller”?

    The Rauner Crew goes… “There”


  39. - Visitor - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 1:12 pm:

    Something just occurred to me. Imagine the U. S. Secretary of the Treasury being elected, from a different party as the U. S. President, and then bashing the U. S. President over something. Weird. But this is what happens, or can happen, in a lot of State Governments, not just Illinois. The Governor of Illinois should be the only one elected, and he or she should appoint the Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Secretary of the Treasury (who should also take over the Comptroller’s duties) and they should be confirmed by the Illinois Senate, just as the Federal Government does. There’s no good reason for all Executive Branch offices to be elected.

  40. - City Zen - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 1:16 pm:

    No need to drive it. We’ve been there for quite some time. We just forgot where we parked.

  41. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 1:21 pm:

    - Visitor -

    You should get that in the ballot.

    I’ll look forward to that. I won’t hold my breath…

  42. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 1:21 pm:

    To the update- I think I have read it before. Are they down to plagiarizing themselves?

    Or is it that they have an auto response programmed into the system?

    Boiled down- don’t finger point, that is the governors job!

  43. - Visitor - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 1:46 pm:

    I’ll send it into Rauner, and know all too well to keep breathing.

  44. - blue dog dem - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 3:18 pm:

    To the headline…Its about time.

  45. - RNUG - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 3:51 pm:

    Rauner is learning the hard way that it would have been better to have retained the Comptroller’s Office than to gain the few Legislative seats he did pick up.

  46. - Henry Francis - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 4:00 pm:

    RNUG - I asked that question a couple days ago. The Comptroller seat helps him in the short run, but the gained seats help him in the long run. Question is will his failure of the short game mean he has no need for a long game (b/c he loses re-election)

  47. - Cubs in '16 - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 4:28 pm:

    @Henry Francis–

    Unless Rauner can pick up more seats (assuming he’s re-elected) those seats he picked up last election won’t make a difference. They mean nothing if he still can’t get to 60 & 30. I think the Comptroller is more important in the long and short terms.

  48. - Rabid - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 5:22 pm:

    “help us” (Eleni Demertzis)”much needed”? Ok it’s either fuzzy math or voodoo economics

  49. - Rabid - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 5:37 pm:

    Confusing helplessness with heartlessness jabber

  50. - justacitizen - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:44 pm:

    I remember not too long ago when the Comptroller’s Office released the “CAFR” years ago, the only information that the media would report was how much it weighed and how much it cost to publish. Back then the Comptroller’s Office was only regarded as a bill paying agency. Today, the importance of the Comptroller’s Office seems to have been elevated.

  51. - Generic Drone - Wednesday, Mar 8, 17 @ 1:21 pm:

    Everyone has culpability in this mess, but for the life of me I don’t understand how republicans can just sit by while Rauner destroys this state and their party in Illinois. Anyone who sides with this imbicile needs to have their head examined. Enough of this crap! Republicans need to start voicing against Rauner openly. Anyone who doesn’t, should not be elected ever again!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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