* From yesterday’s media availability…
Reporter: Governor, there’s a new debt transparency report that the comptroller’s office put out, and it shows that there’s going to be a $2.3 billion shortfall for this year. That seems about on par with some of the numbers that you’ve given. We’re about half way through the fiscal year, what are you gonna do about it?
Gov. Rauner: Propose a balanced budget, actually propose a process to begin to roll back the tax hike that was passed over my veto last summer. We need to…
Reporter: That’ll be in this year’s budget address?
Gov. Rauner: Correct. Unfortunately, in the budget that was passed over my veto last summer, not only was there a very large income tax increase, but there was spending that was even out of balance even after the tax increase. We have been fiscally irresponsible again. So, we’re gonna propose changes into our government operations to reduce wasteful spending so we can put more money into education. I’m gonna propose even more record funding for our schools around the state to support our teachers and our students. But change other things in the system. Pension changes and healthcare changes so that we can reduce the cost of government so we can put more money into our schools and our students.
Reporter: So, just to be clear, in this budget address you’re going to take care of a balanced budget for FY19, the $2.3 billion shortfall for FY18 and more money for education while also doing away with an income tax increase? All of those?
Gov. Rauner: We’re gonna step down, it’s gonna take a few years, we’re gonna step down the income tax increase and put more money in education and shrink the wasteful spending in government and close this deficit. This is, we’ve had a deficit now for years and even after a tax hike there’s still deficits. It’s financially irresponsible.
*** UPDATE *** Rep. Jeanne Ives…
“No one should believe Governor Rauner’s statement on stepping down the tax increase. First, everyone knows that the Governor was actually in favor of a tax increase. He openly stated as much when he took office. Secondly, the tax increase is permanent. So it would take legislative action to change the tax rate, which will be nearly impossible under the current Democrat leadership. Once again, Governor Rauner is making promises he can’t keep.
“The truth is Governor Rauner publicly removed himself from negotiations over the summer when the tax increase occurred. He didn’t make phone calls to Republican members or make any attempt to hold the caucus together on the most important vote of his tenure – the largest permanent tax increase in state history. Governor Rauner is right about one thing: he is not in charge.”
“Ending the tax increase by the end of his second term just as he promised to do at the end of his first? Fool me once…”