* From the governor’s Tribune editorial board meeting…
TRIBUNE: “So Governor, my next-door neighbor just lost his job because of continuing fallout of the budget impasse. So how do you talk to Illinois voters who are still feeling the effects of that impasse?”
RAUNER: “I say every day what I said yesterday, and I’ll say tomorrow, that budget impasse was deeply disruptive, caused suffering. We should never let that happen again but we also can’t stop the struggle for reform. We cannot just think that deficit spending and higher tax rates will solve the problem. They won’t. That in and of itself causes even more suffering for longer periods of time, we cannot give up the struggle because of frustrations during that particular round of the struggle. One battle does not define the whole effort. My request of your friend, you neighbor, is to recognize that it’s a failure of all of us as a system. It’s a, we let the people down when we don’t get balanced budgets and we don’t change our system that has been failing us for decades. We have to keep trying and hopefully we don’t have any more disruptions while we struggle for the reforms. I hope we don’t ever have that. I will be willing to compromise on every possible way to find common ground and get incremental changes so we can keep making progress and not have major disruptions.”
TRIBUNE: “The tragic budget shortfall standoff was solved by Republicans coming and overriding your veto. So, I think the question is, how should voters think that we’re not going to see another standoff? Do you regret not signing that budget?”
RAUNER: “No, not at all.”
* Another one…
TRIBUNE: “Given your speech yesterday, can you give us more of a window into why you said what you said, and why it took you so long for you to say it.”
RAUNER: “Yesterday, I felt it was very important to speak directly to the people of Illinois at this critical juncture in our state’s history. I believe that this election is the most important election of my lifetime. I was born in Chicago and lived in Illinois for most of my 62 years. I don’t know of a more important election. This election will determine the future for our state for decades to come and two very different potential paths. The voters of this state will have a crystal-clear, stark choice to make in this election. It’s essential that we choose to support my efforts with Evelyn Sanguinetti to get our state reformed and turned in a better direction. In my first term, we’ve made important progress but also have had some important frustrations. We’ve learned some lessons from those frustrations. And I’d like to build on the successes we’ve had, progress we made, and lessons learned, and try to get even more done in my 2nd term. And I felt it was critically important now with basically less than 60 days to go until the election that the people of Illinois heard directly from me about that. About what’s at stake in this election. And that we can together, Democrats as well as Republicans, reform minded people, independent voters, everyone, we come together to get done what has to get done to create a better future. We cannot tax our way to a better future. We cannot give more power to the same insiders that have created the problems in our state for the past 35 years. We need to get reforms. And these are reforms that are not partisan reforms. They are not Republican reforms. They are reforms that Democrats in other states have done.”
“I am cautiously optimistic that the dynamic in the General Assembly is different. I do not believe that the speaker is as powerful and dominant and domineering as he was four years ago and as he has been for much of the last 35 years. I think there’s more willingness within his caucus to stand up and challenge him on issues,” said Rauner, who has spent millions of dollars attacking Madigan, who also is state Democratic chairman. […]
He said, in retrospect, he would have accepted smaller changes in such issues as workers’ compensation, local mandate relief, property tax controls and state pensions. During his first term, Rauner pulled back from Senate Republican-led efforts to fashion a “grand bargain” aimed at trying to resolve differences between the governor’s agenda and the Democratic-led General Assembly because it didn’t go far enough.
“The simple fact is I’ve learned. I’ve learned a lot. I was highly successful in business by being very aggressive, very dynamic, very quick to act, innovative in thinking. I’ve tried to be the same in government and what I’ve learned is that doesn’t work very well in a political process where we are in the super-minority and now the minority,” Rauner said.
“We just have to take wins where we can get them. We have to change the system slowly. It takes time. We have to gradually convince not only the legislators but also the voters — and communicating about these issues with 12.8 million people is hard and takes time and we’ve just got to stay persistent,” he said. “What we can’t do is let our frustrations, let our frustrations stop us from continuing to work and continuing to try to make progress.”