Governor Bruce gave his budget address Wednesday where he announced plans for deep cuts, saying the state has been living beyond its means by spending money that taxpayers can’t afford.
The plan to fix the state’s budget mess included cuts to Medicaid and higher education and a new plan to reduce pension costs.
Politicians had mixed reactions to Rauner’s plans, which will likely be a tough sell in the Legislature, where Democrats hold veto-proof majorities in both chambers.
Senate President John Cullerton
“The content of [Rauner’s] plan raises significant questions about its viability in the legislative process. The Governor deserves credit for keeping his promise to increase education funding for Illinois students. However, I’m disappointed that Governor Rauner’s budget will disproportionately impact the working families of those same students. Governor Rauner’s plan includes proposals that will undermine access to health services, child care, affordable college and retirement security for working- and middle-class families. These programs provide many of the work supports and opportunities that families need to succeed and respond to the economy.
“For all the pain that Governor Rauner’s budget plan would extract from the most vulnerable people with human service needs, the basic math still doesn’t work in his proposal. Governor Rauner leaves a $2.2 billion hole in the budget by relying on unrealistic revenues from a questionable pension proposal. Even as the courts review a significant test case, the governor’s plan banks phantom savings for a pension plan that may fail key legislative and judicial tests.”
State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park)
“Our local units of government use the Local Government Distributive funds to provide service for our community. The governor’s proposal mean cuts in services to our communities- less police and firemen on our streets, layoffs of employees working in service offices and raises in property taxes as our local mayors attempt to provide services to residents. This plan isn’t going to solve Illinois’ problems, it will only create more.”
State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge)
“I have led the charge to require state government to spend only the revenue we have in the state budget and nothing more. So I am in full support of the Governor's efforts to live within the means provided by taxpayers. I am very concerned, however, that this budget does so at the expense of taxpayers who are working hard and playing by the rules without seeking to end business as usual in Springfield and without shaking up what needs to be shaken up in the state Capitol.
State Senator Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood 4th)
““Not funding education at a 100 percent rate again this year is simply unacceptable. Ninety-nine percent funding would not be enough, so the proposed 95 percent is certainly not adequate. Yes, government leaders in positions of power hold many responsibilities, one of which is ensuring a thriving private sector, attractive to business and industry – but not to be forgotten are the awesome responsibilities of protecting and serving the people.”
State Senator Donne E. Trotter (D-Chicago 17th)
“Cutting services that uplift communities are not only a slap in the face, but it’s an attack on the lower and middle class. This irresponsible, smoke-and-mirrors budget balances our state’s debts on the backs of the neediest, but refuses to close corporate loopholes.”
State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago 3rd)
“I am outraged that the governor is knocking middle and lower-class families down when they are already facing tough economic circumstances. He’s putting lives and livelihoods in jeopardy by treating our state’s most vulnerable people like burdens.”
State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th)
“This proposed budget would close doors of opportunity for youth in disadvantaged communities throughout the state. By cutting funding for anti-violence initiatives and services for wards of the state who face homelessness and exploitation when they turn 18, this administration signals that it is giving up on the tremendous potential within our young people struggling to emerge from difficult circumstances. And with one-third of higher education funding eliminated in the Rauner budget, young men and women who beat the odds and make it to college would face higher tuition, less assistance and fewer resources."
Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger
"Today Governor Rauner offered a much-needed comprehensive approach to our state's budget and fiscal challenges. For the last decade state government has consistently spent more than it took in, borrowed money that it didn't have and 'balanced' the budget with accounting tricks. Today the consequences of those actions are coming due.
"While there will be plenty of disagreement in the weeks and months ahead, it is abundantly clear that Illinois must change the way it does business and I am heartened to see a thorough approach to our fiscal issues. The Governor's proposal provides a solid starting point for discussion."
Tim Schneider, Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party
“Gov. Rauner promised to fix the broken status quo in Springfield without raising taxes, and today he laid out a plan to do just that. He’s proposing a budget that funds our top priorities including education; the economy; and public safety, while keeping the needs of the taxpayers front and center. Gov. Rauner inherited a mess, but today he laid out a path to close a $6.2 billion budget deficit – without raising taxes. It shouldn’t be a surprise for a governor to do what he says, but after years of broken promises and broken budgets, it’s about time.”
State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood)
"The governor’s proposals and ideas were harsh. It is not just about making tough decisions, but making the right decisions.
The governor made a commitment to make education funding a priority- he delivered this today. However, educators are compassionate individuals who do not like to see their gain at the expense of other needed and important services. I am committed to working in a bipartisan manner to ensure that this year’s budget protects essential services."
State Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Harvey)
"This budget leaves working families and local communities with fewer social services. It will cut supportive housing services, homeless youth services, emergency food programs, afterschool programs and many other critical services important to the state and my district. This proposal tries to balance the budget on the backs of working and vulnerable people; not on businesses and our wealthy. I understand the governor has a tough task with passing a balanced budget, but this is not a solution to the issues we face. This budget cuts social services for people who need them most. It will be important as we move forward to work in a bipartisan fashion to address the shortcomings of this proposal."
State Senator Michael Noland (D-Elgin)
"I agree with much of what the governor had to say today. I accept the Governor’s challenge to eliminate waste but he must in return accept the need for revenue. This will help us to better meet the just demands of our people."
State Sen. Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield)
"I know Illinois is experiencing a budget crisis, but DCFS has been underfunded for years. I’m gravely disappointed Governor Rauner did not make abused and neglected children a higher priority. Cutting the agency’s budget by more than 10 percent is simply unacceptable."
State Rep. Jaime Andrade (D-Chicago)
“With the financial insolvency of our state and the mounting problems we face, moving Illinois towards fiscal responsibility is undeniably necessary. But annihilating programs that help the most vulnerable in our communities is reckless and irresponsible. The governor called his actions unpopular, but this is about more than just his image. These unconscionable cuts hit home: our seniors struggling to make ends meet on a fixed income, elementary school children in special education classes, first-generation college students relying on grants to reach for their chance to get out of poverty, and so many more."
State Rep. Barbara Wheeler
Today, Gov. Rauner followed up the sobering fiscal assessment he gave in his first State of the State Address by giving another even more sobering look at the reality of our state’s finances in his first Budget Address. The challenges facing our state are no secret and as I’ve said before, it gives me hope to see this reality being acknowledged by the Governor. Gov. Rauner laid out his priorities to focus core spending toward public safety, education, and paying our states seemingly endless backlog of bills. However, as I and my colleagues review the full proposal and make recommendations, it will be my top priority to ensure that the needs of the 64th District are met. Make no mistake, the next couple years may be very difficult, but turning Illinois around now is essential for the sake of current and future generations."