* The governor was at ISU yesterday…
Gov. Bruce Rauner said Thursday it is time to invest more in maintaining and creating “world-class facilities” at the state’s universities.
His comments came at Illinois State University, where he met with school President Larry Dietz and other top administrators and toured three buildings scheduled to be torn down or extensively renovated as part of a fine arts complex included in the recently passed state budget.
Speaking to a group of faculty and students in the ISU Center for the Performing Arts, Rauner said, “I want significant new investment” in higher education facilities and “updating our technologies.”
* From his remarks…
I’ve pledged, and I’m gonna work my tail off, sometime within the next six to nine months, I’m giving myself nine months, I want a massive new capital bill, new capital program for the state of Illinois. And I want significant new investments all in our education, higher education institutions. And I want world-class facilities, world-class support for our programs and capital bills will be very heavily focused. We’re gonna do a lot of transportation, roads, bridges, locks, dams, canals, railroads. But it’s gonna be very focused on higher education, world-class facilities, updating our technology so we can have the best education for our young people anywhere in America, anywhere in the world here in our institutions of higher education led by ISU. Go Redbirds!
Dude just finally learned how to crawl by signing his first budget after three and a half years and now he thinks he can leap tall buildings in a single bound.
Also… Canals? Wut?
* And he’s gonna pay for these new canals how, exactly? He’s been promising a massive capital plan since the 2014 campaign and never said how he’d pay for it. Reporters don’t even ask him about it any longer.
A massive capital plan costs money. Lots of money. And Illinois’ government doesn’t have that kind of money on hand, so it’ll have to be new money. Until the governor finally identifies a revenue source, you can completely dismiss this grandiose verbosity.
Also, the inclusion of obsolete 19th Century transportation technology in the governor’s list may be an accidental “tell” that there was no real thought put into this concept. He looks to me like he’s just pulling stuff out of thin (and very old) air and flinging it at the locals for applause lines and fluffy headlines.
Also too, nine months from yesterday is March 21, 2019. Just to be on the safe side, he might wanna give himself less than nine months to pass a capital bill. Maybe focus on the fall veto session, which begins November 13th.
* And speaking of no follow-ups from local reporters…
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 1910 on Thursday, permitting the town of Normal to extend its uptown tax increment financing district for 12 more years.
A TIF district allows officials to divert increases in property tax revenue generated by improvements within the district from taxing bodies to a fund for development incentives and infrastructure improvements. The uptown TIF was set to expire in 2026 and couldn’t be extended without legislative approval.
“You have a great tax increment financing district here,” Rauner said. “We don’t want it to expire.”
* Last August, the governor amendatorially vetoed the education funding reform bill (SB1) to, among other things, take out this provision…
Eliminates the PTELL and TIF equalized assessed value subsidies that allow districts to continue under-reporting property wealth.
And Rauner justified calling TIF districts “slush funds” this way…
Rauner spokeswoman Laurel Patrick pretty much said the governor has made up his mind.
“While TIFs stimulate economic growth in some areas, they do so by depriving economic growth in other areas. They also put government in the position of choosing winners and losers,” she said in an email.