Gov. Bruce Rauner accused some of Illinois’ top Democrats Wednesday of colluding to “create a crisis and shut down the government.”
A judge ruled in favor of Comptroller Susana Mendoza Tuesday in her battle with Rauner over how to pay nearly 600 state employees. On Wednesday, Attorney General Lisa Madigan petitioned the Illinois Supreme Court to stop state workers’ pay as long as there isn’t legislative appropriation.
Rauner claimed Mendoza and Madigan are both answering to the attorney general’s father, House Speaker Michael Madigan, the governor’s chief political nemesis.
“This is clearly part of a coordinated activity, coordinated pattern, between the attorney general, our comptroller and, frankly, our speaker, who coordinates it all, to create a crisis and shut down the government,” Rauner told reporters.
All three Democrats rebuffed the governor’s accusations Wednesday.
“It’s the sort of delusional babble that we hear more and more from him as the governor becomes more and more desperate,” Speaker Madigan’s spokesman Steve Brown told the Chicago Tribune.
Attorney General Madigan’s spokeswoman told the Tribune that Rauner “is clearly desperate to shift blame onto anyone but himself. He needs to stop the baseless finger-pointing and do his job.”
Meanwhile, Comptroller Mendoza accused Rauner of bullying, rejecting his claim that she “takes her orders” from Speaker Madigan.
“On International Women’s Day, Gov. Rauner accused me of taking my orders from the boys,” Mendoza said in a statement. “There’s only one person that tells me what to do and that’s my mother. And today I honor her by continuing to stand up to him, the biggest bully in the state."
Rauner’s comments were sparked by a ruling Tuesday in St. Clair County Court that gave Mendoza the authority to decide which funds to use to pay state employees.
“She wants to now take money out of some special purpose revolving funds that have money in them that gets used for rent and facility costs to keep essential government services running,” Rauner said. "We believe her goal is to deplete those funds and then create a crisis, create a government shutdown to force either stopgap deficit spending or ultimately a tax hike without any changes to our system.”
“That’s wrong. We will continue to advocate against it and every day we will say, ‘Please Comptroller Mendoza don’t deplete those funds,’” he added.
The governor instead encouraged lawmakers to pass Rep. Avery Bourne’s bill that would create a “continuing, permanent appropriation for state employees,” with or without an official budget. He noted that lawmakers have already passed continuing appropriations for themselves and should do the same for other state employees.
“They work every day, they deserve to get paid on a regular basis for their work,” he said.