Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner laid much of the blame for the ongoing state budget stalemate on Chicago during a speaking event in Bloomington Monday.
One reason the stalemate has lasted so many months, according to Rauner, is because the city of Chicago is "out of money." The governor then mentioned the Chicago Public Schools' pension crisis, saying it was years in the making, but the state did not play a role in it.
"Chicago makes Illinois look well run, and that's pretty scary," Rauner said.
On the same day in Chicago, CPS CEO Forrest Claypool threatened up to 5,000 layoffs in the district by February if they did not receive more funding from Springfield. The Chicago Teachers Union responded with a threat to go on strike.
Rauner, meanwhile, predicted the budget stalemate would end in January when he only needs a majority instead of a super majority to pass a budget, which could potentially thwart the layoffs and a strike.
In Bloomington, Rauner elaborated on the events that led to the fiscal crisis, but he avoided discussing many of the repercussions of the stalemate, saying only that it was "upsetting." He also claimed that he is "one of the biggest donors to childcare in Illinois," even as childcare services across the state are losing their funding and closing down due to the impasse.
"We're locked in a big budget stalemate because ... this is years and years of overspending and they just say, 'Governor, we passed a budget with a $5 billion deficit, but you raise the taxes for it.' Come on, seriously? Let's be realistic here. I didn't create this mess. I'm going to fix it," Rauner said.
The governor also lambasted state lawmakers for failing to approve a budget but passing other frivolous bills.
"I love pumpkin pie and I love sweet corn, and I'm glad that they're our state foods, but you know what? We've got a pension crisis and an economic crisis, and we're passing bills on other stuff," he said.