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State of the State coverage roundup

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018

* SJ-R

Gov. Bruce Rauner Wednesday called for bipartisan cooperation among lawmakers to improve the state’s financial standing through economic growth.

In a 30-minute State of the State speech to a joint session of the General Assembly, Rauner said the place to start that effort is by restoring public trust.

“Where once we joined to address our problems, we now divide to conquer the other side, or worse, we legislate for expediency rather than effect,” Rauner said.

Rauner did not, however, lay out specific proposals for achieving that economic development.

* AP

Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to roll back income taxes but did not identify how in his State of the State address.

The Republican has previously said he wants to reverse the income tax increase the Legislature approved last summer. It went from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent. He said Wednesday that “we cannot tax and borrow our way into prosperity” and urged lawmakers to “curb spending” and boost job growth.

But he gave no specifics.

The budget address is in two weeks. No specifics on that were required today.

* Sun-Times

With the March primary just six weeks away, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday spoke calmly and optimistically about some of the state’s most dire faults, vowing once again to fight the state’s property tax system, while saying he’ll fight to make Illinois “the powerhouse job creator it should be.” […]

Of his accomplishments, which Democrats are quick to criticize, Rauner spoke of a school funding formula which passed last year: “We achieved historic parity in per-pupil funding for charter schools, and we created Invest in Kids, the state’s first-ever tuition tax credit scholarship program.” […]

He also spoke of criminal justice reforms, and his goal to reduce the prison population. Rauner, too, said, he’s helped to battle the state’s opioid epidemic by enacting a 24/7 helpline.

Rauner brought two residents of the Quincy veterans’ home, which came under fire after several deadly Legionnaires’ outbreaks. That issue had put the governor in the hot seat over how the state handled a 2016 outbreak. Rauner last month spent a week at the home, saying he wanted to get to know the residents and to learn best practices to ensure they were as safe as possible.

Rauner used the word “veterans” seven times today. He didn’t mention them in 2015 or 2017, but they did get a shoutout in 2016.

* Tribune

The speech was designed to set the stage for a re-election battle in which Rauner is defending his first three years in office while he asks voters to give him another four. To that aim, the address attempted to weave an optimistic tone while also speaking to voters’ frustrations about the state’s economic and political climate. […]

“To that end, I will submit a balanced budget proposal next month. It will offer a path to reduced spending, and it will show the way to surpluses going forward so we can reduce taxes and start to push back against the assault on middle-class bank accounts,” the governor said.

Democrats stood and offered mock applause, including one of his biggest critics, Comptroller Susana Mendoza. Democrats and some experts have long said Rauner has yet to submit a balanced budget, although Democrats have repeatedly advanced out-of-balanced budgets themselves.

Replied Rauner: “And I hope this year you guys will pass it instead of ignoring it.” He drew jeers from within the chamber.

* Reuters

Democratic Senate President John Cullerton, who appeared on public television following the speech, said Rauner’s promise of a balanced spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1 was met with laughter.

“The reason why people couldn’t keep a straight face when he said he was going to introduce a balanced budget is because (Rauner) has never been even close to a balanced budget,” Cullerton said.

Rauner has said he wants to roll back the $5 billion income tax hike even as the state’s payment to its five pension systems is projected to grow to $8.5 billion in fiscal 2019 from $7.94 billion this year. Illinois also has a lingering $8.5 billion unpaid bill backlog that had ballooned to more than $16 billion during the impasse.


Governor Bruce Rauner delivered his annual State of the State Address to a joint session of the General Assembly.

Rauner said the State of the State is one of readiness and he was hoping out loud that the Democrats in control would give him what they have refused to give him before, such as term limits.

“80% of Illinois’ voters want term limits. The other 20% it seems are seated in this chamber.”​

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 2:35 pm:

    I was kind of hoping Rauner was going to use the occasion to declare victory and quit. He’s now in “can’t fool all of the people all of the time” territory. Ain’t going to get any better, as the beating he took in friendly troncistan demonstrated.

    Such a declaration would have been as honest and reasonable as anything else he’s ever said, so, why not.

    Who’s going to be the staff punching bag that gets trotted out in two weeks to defend the governor’s proposed “balanced budget?” Might want to start coughing now, so you can sell it when you call in sick that day.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 2:42 pm:

    Watching it, and not in the room, the vibe, especially the mocking standing ovation Comptroller Mendoza led, was Rauner was speaking to people already knowing he isn’t truthful, and with each fib, it was a vibe of, “there’s another one”…

    … when he finished, it felt like relief for all, including Rauner, that the whoppers were dime being served.

    The not too subtle digs and pointed jabs seemed to have the eye roll time written in, not unlike applause, with Rauner waiting for the eyes to stop rolling, not the applause to end.

    Being and speaking phony for 30 minutes straight is taxing on anyone; the phony person, those forced to hear it, there was relief by all when it ended.

  3. - CharlieKratos - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 2:45 pm:

    I’m curious to see what extremes Rauner will go to in order to prove that he’s accomplished something before November. I’m sure it’ll be nothing too crazy, like bipartisanship, but he’ll probably amp up his attack on public sector workers.

  4. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 2:51 pm:

    == Rauner said the place to start that effort is by restoring public trust. ==

    And exactly what is getting going to do to establish that; quit talking?

  5. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 2:51 pm:

    =even as the state’s payment to its five pension systems is projected to grow to $8.5 billion in fiscal 2019 from $7.94 billion this year.=

    The DEBT cost is growing, not the annual costs. The annual cost is actually declining.

    The math has never worked and it won’t work. You cannot forgo $5 billion in revenue that still isn’t paying all of the bills and try to cut your way out of that when $7 billion is the debt repayment.

    This guy is insane.

  6. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 2:54 pm:

    == He said Wednesday that “we cannot tax and borrow our way into prosperity” ==

    We’ll, he proved borrowing (by not paying bills) doesn’t work …

  7. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 2:58 pm:

    === No specifics on that were required today. ===

    True, but some connection to reality should be required here.

  8. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 3:02 pm:

    Exactly right, JSM. You could lay off every Tier 1 employee, bringing normal cost down to a negligible amount, but you still have to accrue interest on the unfunded liability, $7 billion next year, which is still not enough to keep it from growing. And no “pension reform” whizbang idea on Earth will reduce that amount enough to matter.

  9. - Whatever - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 3:15 pm:

    My nitpick:

    “So, today, I will sign an executive order to strengthen the policies that ensure all government employees under my office’s jurisdiction have reliable and responsive outlets for reporting acts of sexual misconduct. The order makes the Ethics Act supreme over all other laws and agreements in the state, even those in collective bargaining agreements. . . . Further, we will introduce legislation this session to make the Ethics Act the prevailing law of the state in all matters involving misconduct. Every man and woman here today, and every man and woman in our state, is unified in the expectation that we will act on our complete intolerance of, and utter revulsion for, sexual harassment.”

    From Section 5-5 of the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act:

    ” No later than 30 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 100th General Assembly, the [constitutional officers’ and legislative leaders’ personnel] policies shall include, at a minimum: (i) a prohibition on sexual harassment; (ii) details on how an individual can report an allegation of sexual harassment, including options for making a confidential report to a supervisor, ethics officer, Inspector General, or the Department of Human Rights; (iii) a prohibition on retaliation for reporting sexual harassment allegations, including availability of whistleblower protections under this Act, the Whistleblower Act, and the Illinois Human Rights Act; and (iv) the consequences of a violation of the prohibition on sexual harassment and the consequences for knowingly making a false report. The policies shall comply with and be consistent with all other applicable laws.”

    That provision was added by P.A. 100-554, effective November 16, 2017. So he’s bragging about being 45 days late in complying with current law (assuming his executive order actually accomplishes compliance) and encouraging the General Assembly to enact laws that are already in place.

  10. - Ok - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 3:22 pm:

    Every single year, the coverage of the State of the State address is: “Gov X. talked about Y, but offered no specifics on how that would work.”

    Literally every single time for the past 15 years or so, with the only exception being when the Governor combined a State of the State address with a Budget address.

    It seems that reporters should know this. But, on the other hand, they don’t HAVE to. There should be enough specificity, rather than having to TEASE topics that affect the budget address. Is there a better way to do this in general?

    It will be the same going forward, too. Don’t see it changing.

  11. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 3:23 pm:

    ===Who’s going to be the staff punching bag that gets trotted out in two weeks to defend the governor’s proposed “balanced budget?” ===

    Good question. I imagine it going something like this:

    Sen. Cullerton: I wish to complain about this budget your office announced not half an hour ago from this very chamber.

    Rauner Staffer: Oh yes, the, uh, the Governor’s 2018 Balanced Budget…What’s, uh…What’s wrong with it?

    Cullerton: I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it. It’s unbalanced and therefore dead, that’s what’s wrong with it.

    Staffer: No, no, it’s uh,’s resting.

    Cullerton: Look, matey, I know a dead budget when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now.

    Staffer: No no it’s balanced, it’s not dead, it’s, it’s restin’. Remarkable budget, the 2018 Balanced Budget, isn’t it, eh? Beautiful plumage!

    Cullerton: The plumage don’t enter into it. It’s stone dead.

    Staffer: Well, it’s…it’s, ah…probably pining for the fjords.

    Cullerton: It’s not pining. It’s passed on. This budget is no more. It has ceased to be. It’s expired and gone to meet its maker. It’s a stiff. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. If you hadn’t wrote “work together” in the margin, there’s no way this thing could be balanced. Its metabolic processes are now history. It’s off the twig. It’s kicked the bucket, it’s shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleeding choir invisible. THIS IS AN UNBALANCED BUDGET.

  12. - illini - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 3:31 pm:

    The best part of the coverage was Jak, Amanda and, of course, Rich commenting before and after the speech. Thank you SIUE TV.

  13. - cimry90 - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 3:35 pm:

    “80% of Illinois’ voters want term limits. The other 20% it seems are seated in this chamber.”​

    To keep the math simple, if there were 500 people in the chamber then that means that only 2000 voters want term limits. snark

  14. - Nobody Sent - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 4:39 pm:

    Restoring public trust does not occur with the “quality” of appointments he’s made.

  15. - Jocko - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 4:46 pm:

    ==Where once we joined to address our problems==

    We? Do you have a mouse in your pocket? Radogno and the brave 15 beg to differ.

  16. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 5:39 pm:

    “and he was hoping out loud that the Democrats in control would give him what they have refused to give him before, such as term limits.”

    They will when they vote Rauner out of office after his one disastrous term.

  17. - Illinois Resident - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 6:36 pm:

    He is thick. After not accomplishing anything in 3 years he still thinks the take it or leave it approach will work. This is not a dictatorship. You have to work with people. How about legalized cannabis as a way to increase revenue and jobs. Oh yeah, you are against freedom for the citizens of this state. Looking forward to him getting voted out.

  18. - Rabid - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 7:33 pm:

    Four years looking corruption planting the seeds of discontent

  19. - Lucky Pierre - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 8:31 pm:

    The best moment was Susana Mendoza standing up, furiously clapping her hands and directly the trained seals in the GA catcalling the Governor to do the same.

    No sense of self awareness about their own budget failures for decades,

  20. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 8:56 pm:

    ===No sense of self awareness about their own budget failures for decades===

    Charlie Wheeler might disagree on that decades thing, but you already know that.

    You don’t like Dems upstaging and mocking the Governor.

    Maybe the governor can be in charge and correct his own failings instead of being mocked as less than honest and weak.

  21. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 8:59 pm:

    @LP- lol, that is precious.

    Still haven’t heard your thoughts on Rauner lying about his “blind trust” , doing private business on state time?

    So far just crickets from you tough guy.

  22. - cc - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 9:01 pm:

    Wonder how many state retirees listening to all the conversations about the cost of pensions being the
    the cause of all state financial problems begin to feel as if everyone else living in this state wishes all retirees would “shuffle off this mortal coil”.

  23. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 10:26 pm:

    47, that’s a lot of Monty Python.

    I’m thinking the press is going to pound lumps on whoever has to sell the proposed “balanced budget” gag. Won’t be pretty this time when they get to that multi-billion line item of “working together.”

  24. - Blue dog dem - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 11:03 pm:

    I still volunteer to help the governor trim $1.2 billion

  25. - Rabid - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 5:03 am:

    An update on the turnaround agenda, other states have term limits

  26. - Rabid - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 8:41 am:

    Rauner validates he is not in charge, spewing gibberish about being powerless

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