Gov. Bruce Rauner criticized Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s decision to file a motion in state court seeking to stop state worker pay until the governor and the legislature approve a spending plan.
“I am deeply disappointed, very upset about this court filing that Attorney General Madigan has made in St. Clair County seeking to block state employee pay,” Rauner told reporters Friday. “I hope this is not a direct attempt to cause a crisis to force a shutdown of the government, to force another stopgap spending plan, short-term, unbalanced, incomplete, as a step to force a tax hike without any changes to our broken system.”
“I hope that’s not what this is,” he added.
Rauner claimed the move would hurt working families in Illinois and urged the attorney general to “reconsider” the move. Madigan is the daughter of powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, Rauner’s primary political adversary.
“The people ask that this court terminate the injunction as of February 28, 2017, giving the General Assembly and the Governor additional time to enact appropriations legislation before the injunction is dissolved,” Madigan wrote in the filing.
During Friday’s press conference, Rauner continued to support Illinois Senate leaders as they attempt to push through a bipartisan budget package. Madigan’s motion could disrupt that process.
“Let’s not block the great work that the Senate is doing to come up with a compromise and a truly balanced budget, which is what we need, along with changes to the system so we can grow our economy and create more jobs” Rauner said. “Please do not take steps to disrupt the Senate’s work and please respect the fact that we are making progress.”
Senators failed to vote Thursday on the compromise to end the state's historic budget deadlock. The plan, which was put together by Democratic Senate President John Cullerton and Republican leader Christine Radogno, would raise the state’s income and corporate taxes, freeze property taxes for two years, and raise the state minimum wage from $8.25 to $11 an hour, among other things.
Republicans are denouncing Madigan's action, saying she is putting House Speaker Michael Madigan's "power politics" ahead of hard-working families. Party spokesman Steven Yaffe noted state Senate leaders are trying to come up with a bipartisan spending plan.
"Only a Madigan would try to disrupt bipartisan momentum in a matter that threatens to cripple government services and hurt state workers and their families," Yaffe said in a statement. "Comptroller Mendoza and every Democrat in the state who claims to be independent of the 'Madigan Machine' should immediately denounce these tactics and stand on the side of state employees and those who depend on them.”