* This group is the one that Ty Fahner used to run. Greg Hinz takes a look at its new report…
Warning of a looming “catastrophe,” a key Chicago business group today effectively sided against Gov. Bruce Rauner in the state’s bitter budget war.
In an extensive report, the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club, which represents the region’s largest employers, threw its backing behind efforts to pass a budget that includes considerably more new revenues than spending cuts, and which downplays Rauner’s demand for “structural changes” such as a property tax freeze and workers’ compensation reforms in exchange for any tax hike. […]
Committee Chair Rick Waddell, CEO of Northern Trust, conceded in an interview that, while the framework laid out in the report urges changes in the workers’ comp system, it is silent on a proposed property tax freeze and links neither issue to passage of a budget.
“At this point in time, the necessity and imperative of getting the budget done” is paramount, he said. “We’re in a crisis situation.”
If the Legislature and governor again agree only a patchwork stopgap budget that lacks needed revenues, the state’s financial status and ability to retain and attract employers and talent will take a hit, he added.
“It would be catastrophic if we couldn’t market our debt, which could happen” if bond-rating agencies lower their view of Illinois securities to junk levels, as they have threatened to do.
Click here for the full report. They’re proposing $8 billion in new revenues and $2 billion in spending cuts, which is considerably more liberal than the budget which was mostly agreed to in the Senate.
* From Mayor Rahm Emanuel…
“I applaud the Civic Committee for presenting an honest report about the state of Illinois finances, the challenges we all face, and the avenues to invest in our future and drive economic growth for families in every corner of the state. While there are many opinions about the best path forward for the state, the Civic Committee’s thoughtful report underscores the importance of fiscal stability for economic growth, the truth that both revenue and reform are needed, and the fact that progress is possible.”
Missing from the wide-ranging set of recommendations was any mention of property taxes, which are a key driver of costs for Illinois homeowners and businesses. A property tax freeze has been one of Rauner’s top requirements in return for signing off on tax increases.