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Rauner falsely claims yet again that he introduced three balanced budgets

Thursday, Feb 1, 2018

* Gov. Rauner was in southern Illinois today and told reporters this with a straight face

“I’ve introduced a balanced budget every year since I’ve been governor.”

Not true. Blatantly so. Yet, no reporters followed up.

So, let’s try this again.

* From 2015

In a scathing report being released this morning, the Civic Federation, a Chicago watchdog group largely funded with corporate cash, says the new governor’s $31.5 billion operating budget does not add up and asserts that it could leave the state in worse shape than it was under former Gov. Pat Quinn.

* 2016

After nearly a year and a half of all-out budget war in Springfield, the state’s fiscal situation has hit “a new low”—and Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed 2017 spending plan is making it worse, the nonpartisan Civic Federation says.

In a beyond-blistering report being issued today, the Chicago watchdog says the budget’s reported $3.5 billion deficit—a shortfall Rauner has suggested might be filled with spending cuts and perhaps some tax hikes—in fact is “more like $4.5 billion to $5 billion,” federation President Laurence Msall told me in a phone interview last evening.

* 2017

Gov. Rauner said he proposed a balanced budget.

“Today we present you with a balanced budget that shows what is possible if we all come together on a comprehensive approach to state finances and job creation” the governor told lawmakers.

Yet, the budget book produced by the governor’s office of management and budget suggests the budget is balanced by [$4.57 billion in] “working together on a grand bargain.” A so-called grand bargain budget compromise, though, has not been achieved or enacted.

Illinois government finance experts agree Rauner’s proposal is not balanced [anywhere from $4.6 billion to $7 billion].

We rate this claim Pants On Fire.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

53 Comments
  1. - Keyrock - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 1:56 pm:

    Thank you, Rich.
    It’s terrible that we are now limited to a handful of reporters who pay any attention to state government. Without the handful, even more mischief would be done.


  2. - Annonin' - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 1:58 pm:

    Lets remember he can’t tell the truth about his blind trust so why care about your silly balanced budgets


  3. - illini - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 1:59 pm:

    === “Yet, no reporters followed up.” ===

    Sad. I guess we have to wait for the local reporting from the Illinois News Network to get the true story of his news conference.


  4. - Chris Widger - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 2:00 pm:

    The veracity of the claims aside, I don’t think Politifact can be cited with a straight face.


  5. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 2:01 pm:

    ===I don’t think Politifact can be cited with a straight face. ===

    I think you need a nap. Or a timeout. Choose.


  6. - ItsMillerTime - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 2:01 pm:

    To play devil’s advocate here, could one of the reasons why they don’t ask follow ups is because they know Rauner won’t answer the question? We’ve seen this with other questions like him being asked about Trump. He sticks to the talking point and will repeat it as many times as necessary until the reporter gives up, often with that arrogant smile of his.


  7. - Jocko - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 2:02 pm:

    In his defense, Bruce thought…Working together on “grand bargain”…was a valid budgetary line item.


  8. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 2:03 pm:

    ===because they know Rauner won’t answer the question?===

    It’s possible. But not an excuse.


  9. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 2:03 pm:

    Thank you for being a good journalist Rich.


  10. - Norseman - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 2:04 pm:

    This is a repeat symptom of the decline of traditional media. This decline leads to the employment of cheap kids and people untrained in journalism. They don’t ask the tough questions.

    P.S. What’s worse is that the media conglomerates buying the locals feed propaganda to these underfunded organizations for mandatory use.


  11. - Roman - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 2:07 pm:

    == Yet, no reporters followed up. ==

    As usual.

    I hate to sound like an old codger, but I can’t believe that 20 years ago the press corps would let a governor get away with this.


  12. - ItsMillerTime - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 2:11 pm:

    ===It’s possible. But not an excuse.===

    I agree, and I have a lot of respect for the journalist who do actually ask the tough questions even though they know what Rauner will do.


  13. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 2:11 pm:

    Rauner just hopes enough people believe him.

    When faced with a follow up, he laughs, tells reporters to “focus” when questions are focused on him.

    Rauner is as dishonest as the night he won the election in 2014.

    Ask Leader Radogno about Rauner as an honest actor.

    Rauner thinks people still believe him, even if he already knows the press know better… and that 55% of people disapprove of him anyway.

    It’s all Rauner has now… relying on his own dishonesty.

    Whew


  14. - City Zen - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 2:12 pm:

    It would be more fun if he said 4.


  15. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 2:13 pm:

    You should request a one-on-one meet with Bruce - call it a 3 year reunion. If I recall he tried to co-opt you early on, (beer and dogs), but you really disappointed him I’m guessing. Correct about “no excuse”, but using that logic is a useful cop out for lazy, gutless reporters. Keep at ‘em Capn.


  16. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 2:19 pm:

    ==Working together on a “grand bargain”==

    That’s what passed for “balanced” in his mind last year. Please. The Governor is a pathological liar


  17. - illini - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 2:19 pm:

    It has been almost 50 years since I was a stringer for the Daily Illini. Yet, whenever I was tasked with covering a press conference I was expected to do my research and ask a question pertinent to the topic. My editors expected nothing less.


  18. - m - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 2:30 pm:

    =It’s possible. But not an excuse.=

    You get a certain number of questions before they shut it down. A reporter who knows what they’re doing isn’t worried about asking a question that they’ve heard his non-answer to a hundred times.


  19. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 2:46 pm:

    ===A reporter who knows what they’re doing isn’t worried about asking a question that they’ve heard his non-answer to a hundred times===

    I do not believe he’s ever really been called out on this claim by a reporter. Or if he has, it hasn’t been often, even though he says it a lot. So, it wouldn’t be something anyone has heard a hundred times before.


  20. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 2:49 pm:

    The contempt this guy has for the public.


  21. - Generic Drone - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 2:49 pm:

    I dont know who is more incompetant. Rauner or these reporters who don’t ask follow up questions.


  22. - Concerned Dem - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 2:52 pm:

    Earth to Team JB… This is exactly why you have to paint the complete picture of Rauner as the Worst Governor in America and not rely on the media to do it for you.


  23. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 2:55 pm:

    Isn’t someone supposed to enforce the state constitution?


  24. - JustMe - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 2:59 pm:

    @Anyonymous 2:13p

    I agree. Rich should request a one-on-one with Rauner and publish whatever transpires.

    Additionally, if the gov has no public schedule posted, real journalists (there are some, I have faith) should request interviews in those time slots.


  25. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 3:21 pm:

    Illini, I’m glad to read your post and note that AA is not the oldest commenter here. You don’t have me by much, though. :)

    To the Post, we know there are good journalists left in Southern Illinois. Looks like Rauner isn’t a priority with them.


  26. - Keyser Soze - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 3:29 pm:

    Depends upon the meaning of the word “balanced.”


  27. - DuPage Bard - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 3:46 pm:

    Balanced as in the actual paper it’s written on is hard stock so it doesn’t bend and fall on the floor?


  28. - illini - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 3:49 pm:

    Thank you AA. Although I did not pursue a career dependent on the written word, few things irritate me more than sloppy reporting being disguised as journalism.

    And, yes, there are some good reporters in Central and Southern Illinois. And a few are very good.


  29. - Flynn's Mom - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 3:55 pm:

    He introduced 3 balanced budgets and Trump is tweeting that he had the highest ratings ever for a SOTU. The lie detector determined that those are both lies.


  30. - m - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 3:59 pm:

    =I do not believe he’s ever really been called out on this claim by a reporter. Or if he has, it hasn’t been often, even though he says it a lot. So, it wouldn’t be something anyone has heard a hundred times before. =

    I’ve personally witnessed him dodging it at multiple press conferences, including last year when individuals specifically brought up the Politifact article.

    Further, for all those who love to criticize the reporters over this, I can promise you that if you brought back his non-answer more than once to your editor or news director for a story, you would receive a stern talking-to.

    I understand that a lot of you would like to see this in a headline every day, but no editor will let that happen, because they know people are only going to read that story once.

    They also won’t let you run a story everyday about how the GA is also constitutionally required to pass a balanced budget as well. (although no one here seems to be clamoring for that angle)

    If you want to go take on the under-appreciated and under-payed job of reporter in Illinois, I’m sure editors would love to see your resumes, especially since you know how to do the job so much better.


  31. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 4:04 pm:

    The only way his budgets are balanced is if you centered the budget books on a 2×4, they would balance.

    Maybe a 2×6.


  32. - NorthsideNoMore - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 4:26 pm:

    Well if we the people didn’t have to pay $1 billion in interest on over due bills the state budget could have, sort of, maybe been balanced kind of, possibly, No ?


  33. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 4:38 pm:

    Amen, Illini. Molly Parker wouldn’t have let him get away with that.


  34. - Elliott Ness - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 4:49 pm:

    Pants on fire


  35. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 4:56 pm:

    Molly Parker is one of the best. I’m sure we will still be seeing her byline even though she is now working with Pro Publica ( and the Southern ).


  36. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 5:09 pm:

    –I understand that a lot of you would like to see this in a headline every day, but no editor will let that happen, because they know people are only going to read that story once.–

    You can’t be serious. You can’t think of a million stories that you haven’t seen over and over?

    How’s about “budget impasse?” Did you read about that more than once?


  37. - My New Handle - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 5:16 pm:

    Even if Rauner was not asked, the article should include background on his assertion, much as Rich Miller did here.


  38. - m - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 5:21 pm:

    =How’s about “budget impasse?” Did you read about that more than once?=

    And as anyone who actually works in a newsroom can tell you, the big thing, every single day, is how you cover the story in a completely different way each day.

    That doesn’t mean a million different places can’t cover the same story on the same day.

    But, “Governor dishonest about presenting balanced budget” doesn’t have that many different stories in it, unless there are actions. Someone files a complaint, that’s a story. Protest the lack of a balanced budget presentation, that’s a story. But to just repeatedly show him giving the same non-answer in a story about the exact same thing? No editor in their right mind lets that happen.

    And that doesn’t even get to the fact that the budget impasse is a much bigger story (and continuing story with new wrinkles, court cases, effects, etc each day) than “Politician A. tells a lie.”

    You can be a freelancer. Go get some credentials. Ask the gov, see how many outlets pick up your great story.


  39. - JS Mill - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 5:28 pm:

    =is how you cover the story in a completely different way each day.=

    The governor has told countless lies on this subject alone. A skilled journalist would be able to write that in a way that would interest the readers.

    Getting him to actually answer the questions asked would be a nice headline, might be a tough get but a good one.

    I guess your motto is when the going gets tough, I quit?


  40. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 5:33 pm:

    –But to just repeatedly show him giving the same non-answer in a story about the exact same thing?–

    He’s not giving a non-answer, he’s lying. And reporters have dutifully reported his lie for years without calling it out. He’s been telling the lie all week, starting at the tronc edit board — who also did not follow-up on the claim.

    You don’t report a lie without calling it out. I’m surprised you don’t include that wisdom in your advanced journalism lectures you’re giving here.

    But here’s what you’re supposed to learn Day One, and stick to it:

    “If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.”


  41. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 5:35 pm:

    ===the big thing, every single day, is how you cover the story in a completely different way each day.===

    Fine. So follow up for a change. It’s a completely lost art these days.

    Allowing somebody to lie right to your face and then saying, meh, there’s no news value anyway, is pretty darned disgraceful. Perhaps you should try a different line of work.


  42. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 5:48 pm:

    Rauner ought to vanish for the duration of the primary season. He might manage to win like former Congressman Young who famously was absent for most of his winning campaign season and thereby avoided foot in mouth gaffes.


  43. - blue dog dem - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 5:51 pm:

    Our new nickname for this governor down south here is ; funny bunny.


  44. - m - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 5:58 pm:

    =“If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.”=

    Ever heard the old adage where a dog bites a man and how it’s not a story? But the man biting the dog is?
    I’d put “Politician A. tells a lie” in the first category, after I reported it once.

    =So follow up for a change.=

    I wasn’t in the Tronc edit board. I’d agree that’s a good place for a followup.

    =Perhaps you should try a different line of work.=
    Repeatedly asking the same question and getting the same answer is a great way to make that happen.

    Which stories got the most comments today? Ives’ speaker, Pritzker ad, and chancellor’s kids.

    Which stories get the most comments on the paper site?

    Reporters have to answer to someone, and they are doing that.


  45. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 6:02 pm:

    ===Repeatedly asking the same question and getting the same answer is a great way to make that happen.
    ===

    Again, when has that follow-up been asked? You’re claiming something that isn’t in evidence.


  46. - Distraught and dismayed - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 6:09 pm:

    If he won’t answer these questions, do we have any hope that he will answer questions about whether he and his friends benefited from buying accounts receivable from businesses owed money by the State or whether they benefited from higher interest rates on State of Illinois bonds? It may take a grand jury to get answers to those questions.


  47. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 6:10 pm:

    –I’d put “Politician A. tells a lie” in the first category, after I reported it once.–

    You’re a cheap date. So once a politician lies, you give them a pass as they repeat it over and over again for years?

    “Pres. Nixon, are you covering up White House involvement in the Watergate break-in.”

    “No.”

    “Okay, moving right along, if you could be a tree, what kind of tree would you be…”

    That would get some clicks, I bet.


  48. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 7:06 pm:

    - Which stories get the most comments on the paper site?

    Reporters have to answer to someone, and they are doing that. -

    Yeah, this business model has really been working well for newspapers.


  49. - Wondering - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 7:36 pm:

    Actually, just quoting Rauner is aggressive reporting. His own petard is much more damaging and without the defense of “biased media”,


  50. - Pundent - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 8:27 pm:

    If you’re not willing to identify and challenge a lie I’d argue you’re not much of a journalist. You’re more like a literary agent for a propagandist.


  51. - Pundent - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 8:41 pm:

    If you’re not willing to identify and challenge a lie I’d argue you’re not much of a journalist. More like a literary agent for a propagandist.


  52. - justacitizen - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 8:57 pm:

    Past governors “balanced” thr budget with phony inflated revenue estimates. The governors budget in the past was simply a framework and starting point. It was the legislature’s job to revise and craft a true budget.

    Rauner’ budgets based on grand compromises, etc. are a stretch but not much different than past governors “lies” by inflating revenue estimates and other gimmicks to present a balanced budget.


  53. - Rabid - Friday, Feb 2, 18 @ 8:20 am:

    alternative facts from the imbalanced


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