With Illinois’ stopgap budget agreement set to expire at the end of December, Gov. Bruce Rauner penned an op-ed Monday encouraging lawmakers to look past the contentious election cycle to passing a full, balanced state budget, Crain’s Chicago Business reports.
“This week the Illinois General Assembly will return to the state Capitol for its annual veto session,” Rauner wrote. “This is our opportunity to come together and pass a balanced budget, which is why I have invited the four legislative leaders to meet and immediately begin negotiations on an agreement containing a balanced budget and reforms.”
However, Rauner’s Monday meeting was reportedly only being attended by fellow Republicans. House Speaker Michael Madigan announced Sunday that he wouldn't attend due to a scheduling conflict, though he reportedly asked to schedule a meeting for Tuesday instead. After Madigan’s announcement, Senate President John Cullerton also pulled out, claiming the meeting wouldn’t be productive without his party’s leader.
In his op-ed, Rauner also focused on pushing reforms tied to his beleaguered “turnaround agenda,” which were almost entirely cut out of June’s stopgap compromise.
“We must include reforms that the people of Illinois are calling for — economic reform to spur job growth, education reform to ensure that every child has access to a quality education, political reform to return power back to the people, property tax reform to give homeowners and business owners much needed relief, and pension reform to get our state’s financial footing back on the right track,” Rauner wrote.
According to the governor, the state is on an “unsustainable path” that can’t be fixed simply with tax hikes on Illinois families and job creators. Rauner also pushed for increased economic growth and lowered government spending, which he says can be addressed “not by focusing primarily on cuts to human services, but by curbing the cost of our government bureaucracy.”
“Republicans cannot do this by themselves, nor can Democrats,” Rauner wrote. “For the benefit of all the people of Illinois, we have to get this done together on a bipartisan basis. So as the legislature returns to Springfield, let’s move past the campaign. We need a balanced budget. We need reforms.”
“Now is the time to move forward together."