Gov.-Elect Bruce Rauner frequently griped about Illinois' unbalanced budget on the campaign trail. Weeks away from his official swearing-in, the Republican venture capitalist-turned-political rookie is wringing his hands over lawmakers' 2014-2015 fiscal plan, dubbing it a bigger mess than he thought possible.
At a Springfield press conference Tuesday, a gloomy, doom-y Rauner blasted the use of "accounting gimmicks" to shroud expenditures totaling $1.4 billion that he said his transition team had unearthed.
"The deficit is far worse than has been discussed," he lamented. "Our financial condition here in Illinois is dire. It is very bad. Worse than has been reported. Worse than has been discussed publicly."
According to the State Journal-Register, Rauner said he would offer "solutions in the coming weeks and months" for tackling a "booby traps"-laden budget situation. The current $36 billion plan, he said, lacked the cash to pay for union salary raises as well as worker healthcare claims.
Meanwhile, Illinois will be short $2 billion as of Jan. 1 when 2011's temporary 5 percent income tax increase is allowed to expire and drop back down to 3.75 percent.
The General Assembly spurned Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn's proposal to continue the 5 percent rate earlier this year, prompting a reluctant Quinn to approve what he called an "incomplete" budget earlier this year.
“Our problems have not been created by the tax hike expiring," Rauner stated Tuesday.