* From the end of the governor’s press conference this morning…
Reporter: Governor, how long will you continue to blame Mike Madigan for the state’s problems?
Gov. Rauner: ‘Til he’s gone. I mean, I mean, he’s been in charge for 35 years. The guy’s become a millionaire off of high property taxes in this state. It’s not a coincidence that we have the worst property taxes in America. He’s become a millionaire by making them high, and having a tax appeals law firm on the side. And he holds businesses in Chicago hostage to use his law firm. The system is broken.
He controls, he’s rigged his primary. He has rigged his Democratic primary. He has rigged it, ladies and gentlemen. If you guys won’t report it, shame on you. He has rigged the system, he controls it. It’s a Mafia protection racket. And until he’s gone, we aren’t going to fix Illinois and we aren’t going to have a good future.
Reporter: So, who do you think his candidate for governor is?
Rauner: [Laughs] Oh, c’mon. You know what? If you guys are asking that question you’re playing games and you’re not reporting the truth to the people of Illinois. You’d better answer that question yourself. You’ve been around, you know the answer to that question.
Reporter: So, if he’s been in charge for the last 35 years, have you been in charge for the last three?
Rauner: I wish I had. We would have our problems fixed. Illinois would be on a great future. We’d have 200,000 more jobs in this state. We’d have lower property taxes in this state. We would have term limits in this state if I was in charge. I am not in charge. I’m trying to get to be in charge.
Reporter: How can you say you’re not in charge? You’re the governor of Illinois.
Rauner: The General Assembly can block the major things. What I control, union contracts, we’re incredible, Medicaid reform, incredible, criminal justice reform, incredible. The things that I can control, we’re transforming the state. And I’ve been able to recruit 120,000 net new jobs despite our regulations being bad. If, if I could get the General Assembly to support term limits, property tax relief, red tape reduction on businesses, rolling back that income tax hike, we will kick tails, we will be one of the strongest states in America.
Lots to unpack there, so have at it.
While Rauner has executed new collective bargaining agreements with more than a dozen trade unions, he has been unable to reach agreement with the state’s largest public employee union and was barred earlier this year from attempting to impose his own contract terms on the workers.
Rauner’s overhaul of the state’s Medicaid program has been criticized by Democrats as moving too fast and at too great of an expense to the state. And while Rauner has indeed presided over several significant changes to the criminal justice system over the nearly three years he’s been in office, much of that work was made possible by lawmakers who sent bills to his desk for approval.