Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Rauner denies using universities, social services as “leverage,” blames Madigan
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Rauner denies using universities, social services as “leverage,” blames Madigan

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Gov. Rauner held a press availability today and was asked

Why is it worth it to use state universities which are starving, and social service agencies which are already starved; why is it worth it to use them as leverage to get your agenda?

* His response

Well, I disagree with the premise at least for our administration. We have no interest in using them or anything as leverage.

OK, stop right there. From the beginning of the impasse in 2015

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner kicked off a campaign-style statewide tour Monday by indicating he’ll try to “leverage” the state’s money woes into securing a series of pro-business changes from a General Assembly controlled by Democrats likely to fiercely oppose them. […]

“Crisis creates opportunity. Crisis creates leverage to change … and we’ve got to use that leverage of the crisis to force structural change,” said Rauner, borrowing from a political philosophy famously coined by his friend Rahm Emanuel that “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

And from the campaign

“We will crush our economy if we try to spend money on both high-cost, inefficient, bureaucratic, heavily unionized government and a social safety net to help the disadvantaged,” Rauner said.

“We can’t afford both,” he said, and “wealth creators,” like JIMMY JOHN LIAUTAUD, founder of Jimmy John’s sandwich shops and another panelist, would be forced to leave the state.

“I think we can drive a wedge issue in the Democratic Party on that topic and bring the folks who say, ‘You know what, for our tax dollars, I’d rather help the disadvantaged, the handicapped, the elderly, the children in poverty,’ ” Rauner said, instead of directing tax dollars to the Service Employees International Union or “AF-Scammy,” an apparent reference to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, known as AFSCME for short.

* Anyway, back to today’s comments by the governor

What I’m advocating is we need to change our system, it’s broken, and we need balanced budgets. And the reason that this is so hard, one of the reasons it’s so hard is that we’ve never had balanced budgets. We either don’t pay our pensions, we don’t pay our bills or we borrow on the bond market. This has been going on for 30 years. We can’t keep doing this. We’re not the federal government, we can’t print money. We’re not the federal government, we can’t just borrow unlimited. We actually have to live within our means.

This is all I’ve said. And I’ve said either let me cut so we can balance the budget, and even with the cuts universities will get funded and social services would get much support. So, and I am very, very supportive of our social services safety net. It’s important, I support it in the state of Illinois. Many of the agencies that have been hurt by this budget impasse are the same services that my wife and I have been supporters of for decades. I’m a big advocate for these human services.

It’s a tragedy that the General Assembly under Madigan’s majority won’t change anything, and they just want to do more deficit spending. And let’s be clear that the stopgap proposal to have more deficit spending - not fix the problem, not get a balanced budget - all that’ll do is kick the can down the road, make the tax hike bigger, later, push more employers and more jobs out of the state and not solve any problems, but just make it worse.

* The same reporter followed up

How would you define the leverage that you’re using politically to try to get your agenda passed?

* The governor’s response

My strict effort is to talk to the people of Illinois. That’s why I speak to with you about this most every day. That’s the reason I go on radio and TV to talk about it. That’s the reason I give six speeches pretty much seven days a week. That’s the reason I use social media to get the message out. That’s the reason that sometimes we do use paid media to get the message out. The people of Illinois need to know what’s on the line. Term limits, fair maps, property tax freeze, pension reform, education funding reform. These are all important things to help us get balanced budgets for the long term. Long term.

We could do a massive tax hike, which is what Madigan’s Democrats have indicated they would like, to balance a budget for one year, maybe 18 months, maybe two years. But it would quickly be out of balance. Whatever our taxpayers pay in in their hard-earned money would quickly be spent in more. This has been our pattern for 30, 40 years. We need structural change to grow the economy and structural change to bring down the cost of government. That way we can keep our budgets balanced without having to raise taxes more in the future.



  1. - sal-says - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 1:11 pm:


    Nah; Immediate ban 4 life.

  2. - Anon - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 1:13 pm:

    If only there were some way for him to introduce a balanced budget.

  3. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 1:28 pm:

    I wonder if the Democrats should simply let Rauner make the cuts. It would be a budget and the cuts will reflect on the next election. Maybe they should call his bluff…

  4. - The Dude Abides - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 1:30 pm:

    Rauner lays out his argument like this. Accept my reform ideas or continue with what we’ve been doing the last 30 years. He suggests that those are the two options. Those shouldn’t be the only two options. How about some reforms that will actually improve the health of the Illinois economy. I think workman’s comp reform is needed and would help but term limits won’t help strengthen our economy. Thirty five states don’t have term limits and many of them are doing quite well. By the Rauner Administrations own numbers provided in 2015, his reforms won’t put much of a dent in fixing our economic problems.
    If he fails to at least make some improvements in our economy in 4 years should the voters give him another 4 years anyway because all the guys in the other party are Madigan’s pals? That seems to be his argument.

  5. - the shizle - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 1:31 pm:

    he’s completely detached from reality

  6. - illini - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 1:33 pm:

    Proving just once again that campaigning is easier than governing.

    And he has his obedient media throughout the state quoting his talking points as “new, hard and breaking news”. And put him in his Carhartts and it becomes front page news.

    Most media have been complicit in perpetuating his charade by being lazy and unquestioning of his statements. And when the editorials pretend to be outraged by the lack of budgets and funding for critical state services and institutions they routinely fail to tell the whole story and largely give the Governor a pass.

  7. - Telly - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 1:46 pm:

    Anonymous 1:28 said: Maybe the should call his bluff…

    Amen. Lump sum General Revenue.

  8. - Handle Bar Mustache - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 1:50 pm:

    ==we can’t just borrow unlimited. We actually have to live within our means.==

    says the guy who has presided over a tripling of the state’s bill backlog. What a joke.

  9. - GA Watcher - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 1:53 pm:

    The Dems ought to adopt the grand bargain with budget cuts they find palatable from among those offered last week by Senator Brady and/or Senators McCarter and McConchie. Send the bill to the Governor’s desk and force him to act.

  10. - IRLJ - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 1:53 pm:

    One of the first things people like Rauner are taught in How to Spin classes is that they don’t have to answer the question they’re asked. They bank on reporters growing tired of trying to follow up.
    Here, as usual for the Governor, he trades what’s left of his credibility for the spin he puts on the damage he’s done.

  11. - Huh? - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 1:56 pm:

    Strong in this one, the cognitive dissonance is. Yes, hmmm

  12. - AC - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 1:56 pm:

    ==We need structural change to grow the economy and structural change to bring down the cost of government. That way we can keep our budgets balanced without having to raise taxes more in the future.==

    That would require 60/30 legislators to vote against the wishes of their constituents who value unions, want to preserve workers compensation for injured workers, and don’t want to put the squeeze on local governments. At the very least, Democratic legislators are unwilling to go as far as Rauner wants on those issues. Democratic legislators by and large are unconvinced as to the value of those reforms, and many believe Rauner’s proposals would make the state economy worse.

  13. - Cardsfan - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 1:57 pm:

    Illini just nailed it.

  14. - Blue Bayou - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 1:59 pm:

    Rauner wishes, perhaps, that he’s the Governor of a different state, with different citizens who want different things.

    But in IL, he’s well under water and so are most of his TA items. The ones that might get traction he’s not pursuing.

    He’s terrible at government. So the rest of us suffer.

  15. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 1:59 pm:

    That was then this is now. If the man says he is not leaveraging he is not leaveraging. Good grief if you can’t trust the Governor who can you trust?

  16. - Earnest - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 2:07 pm:

    >Why is it worth it to use state universities which are starving, and social service agencies which are already starved; why is it worth it to use them as leverage to get your agenda?

    Nice to see that someone actually asked the question.

  17. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 2:13 pm:

    He is a liar. Rauner is doing what he wants to do, and his actions are having predictable consequences.

    A blind man can see that.

    –Most media have been complicit in perpetuating his charade by being lazy and unquestioning of his statements. And when the editorials pretend to be outraged by the lack of budgets and funding for critical state services and institutions they routinely fail to tell the whole story and largely give the Governor a pass.–

    So true. The whole Rauner rationale is ludicrous, on its face.

    You run up billions in bills to Illinois vendors and throw thousands out of work — for realsies — because you have some “plan” that you can’t pass and that you can’t offer any rational ROI.

    It would be hilarious if it were a cartoon or a reality show, and real people weren’t getting tuned up.

    Hopefully, all these Democratic candidates can engage and expose the nonsense.

    Because the 3-D Dem Chessmasters in Springfield have been horrible failures at it.

  18. - Jocko - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 2:31 pm:

    ==That’s why I speak to with you about this most every day.==

    I wouldn’t bother asking Bruce the time, day, or weather…for fear that his response would only reflect predetermined talking points.

  19. - Ray del Camino - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 2:32 pm:

    Complete and utter BS. Not a single one of Rauner’s TA items structurally changes the budget. When are the lazy-butt media (besides Rich) gonna call him on it?

  20. - My New Handle - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 2:34 pm:

    Wordslinger at 2:13pm, exactly so. Another sad reality is that most legislators have not a clue about legislating, and rely on their handlers for direction. Hence, many of the proposals we hear are based on the limited responsibility those handlers have to the voters. Legislation of any type is a by-product of elections, not a reason for them.

  21. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 2:49 pm:

    Jimmy Liautaud should be shunned. Seriously, he walks into a room, everyone should turn their backs to him. If he’s actually left Illinois I want a law that says he can’t come back.

  22. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 2:50 pm:

    RaunerSpeak = OinkPlop

  23. - Honeybear - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 2:51 pm:

    See this is why you don’t use “malum in se” methods like hostage taking of innocents. 1) nobody can ever trust you again 2) it’s effects can’t be controlled 3) you are disproportionally effecting innocent non combatants. 4) you are destroying vital social service infrastructure.

    It’s the very definition of a Malum in se violation of just war principles only transfused into the political sphere. It’s totally relevant and explains our current impasse and trench warfare like feel. Not signing a budget, killing the grand bargain, killing social services and higher Ed are like mustard gas attack on our state. It is Malum in se. Evil itself

  24. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 2:58 pm:

    Propose a budget that is not balanced without a tax increase and then blame Democrats for trying to “force” a tax increase. Propose “reforms” that not even his party suppprts and then complain when Democrats won’t follow. Claim you’re focused on governing and not thinking about politics, and then give $50 million of your own money to your PAC. That’s the Rauner way.

  25. - PlayK8 - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 3:18 pm:

  26. - Saluki - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 3:22 pm:

    I can feel the place I call home blowing away in the breeze with each passing day. A once proud institution like SIUC is a shell of it’s former self. Our economy in Southern Illinois is hollowed out, and the Governor could not care less. Nothing he does provides for the environment needed to grown business. He is an apostate preacher of a false political gospel. I will happily vote for any candidate other than Bruce Rauner in the next election.

  27. - Annonin' - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 3:25 pm:

    He doesn’t really speak everyday and when he does it is largely gibberish. It was sad the media did not press him on the destruction at colleges and universities. He made some garbled comment about Western in Peoria last week and the Tribbie wrote like his rationing ideas made sense. Fortunately most are seeing the mumbo jumbo for what it is.

  28. - Winnin' - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 3:32 pm:

    20 more months of deception to go.

  29. - walker - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 3:45 pm:

    Rauner lies about the past, lies about the present, and provides vague generalities about the future. He has become as shameless a campaigner with misinformation as anyone we have seen.

    Was this his winning business strategy?

  30. - illini - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 3:57 pm:

    @Saluki - “…an apostate preacher of a false political gospel”. Excellent.

  31. - don the legend - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 4:08 pm:

    …We need structural change to grow the economy and structural change to bring down the cost of government. That way we can keep our budgets balanced without having to raise taxes more in the future… Too bad Rauner is a liar and can’t be trusted otherwise, great idea.

  32. - Demoralized - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 4:29 pm:

    == Term limits, fair maps . . .These are all important things to help us get balanced budgets for the long term. Long term.==

    Term limits and fair maps have zero to do with balancing the budget.

    ==We could do a massive tax hike==

    And you’ll be right there signing it. It’s inevitable. Speaking of the honesty discussion, that’s a prime example of the lack of honesty from anyone going on right now.

  33. - blue dog dem - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 5:46 pm:

    Let me draw rberyones attention to the npr Illinois articles referenced on the right side of this blog. Illinois College now offering scholarships for video gamers. Who says higher ed needs revenue cuts. I stand corrected after all these years.

  34. - blue dog dem - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 5:52 pm:

    Saluki. I hate to remind you that SIUC has been on a downward spiral for the last 20 years. The town around campus is less than desireable. The crime rate in Carbondale is scary. I don’t like Rauner, but he is finishing off what was started decades ago.

  35. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 5:52 pm:

    I just love seeing this man waste his money.

    Gives me a feel good all over!

  36. - Illini doubter - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 6:02 pm:

    My son was offered Presidents award at UIUC. I can’t be certain he will get what is promised or be able to get his classes to graduate in four years.

    Sadly he will need to go out of state.

    I am sure there are many others like us.

  37. - Illini doubter - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 6:07 pm:


    Since college decision day is May 1 I thought you could start a thread about why and why not people are choosing Illinois University system schools.

  38. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 6:21 pm:

    The only place that I have read meager praise of the Governor in terms of higher ed is at the faculty blog from Chicago State University. It is far too early to tell what results the changes at that troubled campus will bring, but for the first time in years the patronage hires and cronies do not have the run of the place.

    For years the place operated like no rules applied and the only people who suffered were the students and the taxpayers.

  39. - peon - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 6:44 pm:

    We do need major structural change - on the second Tuesday of Nov 2018.

  40. - DuPage Dave - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 6:52 pm:

    Rauner remains- as always- a complete and utter disappointment.

    And hey, all you Rauner voters down in Saluki land, Charleston and Macomb- hope you’re happy now…..

  41. - illini - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 7:37 pm:

    @Illinois doubter - Tough decisions no doubt, but maybe passing on the offer at UIUC should be reconsidered.

    Granted, there has been some reorganization within some departments and curriculum that has been necessitated by the uncertainty of and by the lack of state support. And, thankfully, this consolidation has not been nearly as drastic as at most all of the Regionals.

    Yet, your son is obviously talented and deserving of this award. There are ways where certain students ( James Scholars or other honors programs ) do get some doors opened and can expedite the path towards graduation on time.

    Degrees from UIUC do still mean a lot and are respected by most employers.

  42. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 7:38 pm:

    A majority of Illinois voter support redistricting because they don’t believe they actually choose their legislators. They believe their legislators are chosen for them

    The last time there was a Republican map the Senate was controlled by Republicans for a decade

    Term limits are also popular because career legislators have proven incapable of voting for the revenue or cuts required to balance the Illinois budget

    they are afraid to take tough votes that might jeopardize reelection

    that is irrefutable

  43. - Demoralized - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 8:05 pm:

    What is also irrefutable is that has nothing to do with the budget.

    You play the constant victim. The governor is a victim. The voters are victims. It’s sad how much of a victim you are.

  44. - zatoichi - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 8:47 pm:

    Rauner gives 42 speeches a week every week? To who? Two minutes of the same talking points is a speech?

  45. - G'Kar - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 8:52 pm:

    Blue Dog Dem @ 5:46–if Illinois College was a public institution you’d have a point, but it isn’t, so you don’t.

  46. - Thoughts Matter - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 9:55 pm:

    I believe that a Governor should have duties such that he doesn’t have time to give 6 speeches a day, plus prep time for and travel time to/from. Does he understand what he’s supposed to be doing? Someone read him his job description.

  47. - blue dog dem - Tuesday, Apr 11, 17 @ 3:30 am:

    G’Kar. If I am not mistaken, MAP grants are a possibility for Illinois College students.

  48. - working stiff - Tuesday, Apr 11, 17 @ 6:47 am:

    “That’s the reason I go on radio and TV to talk about it. That’s the reason I give six speeches pretty much seven days a week.”

    how about stopping the continual campaign and actually doing something. but news this morning touting he’ll be traveling today for …………….wait for it ……………….campaign speeches

    cue gomer pyle: surprise … surprise ….. surprise

  49. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Apr 11, 17 @ 7:42 am:

    Blue Dog, MAP grants aren’t a possibility for any Illinois students right now, in keeping with your and the governor’s vision for the future.

    Perhaps youd like to endow a Get Off My Lawn scholarship to make up the slack.

  50. - Rural liberal democrat - Tuesday, Apr 11, 17 @ 8:33 am:


    That would be the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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