Governor Bruce Rauner fired his strongest salvo yet Friday, over Pat Quinn’s failure to launch medical marijuana in Illinois.
“Let’s talk about this medical marijuana mess that Governor Quinn created, then ran away from,” Rauner said. “Apparently he made arbitrary decisions about disqualifying people, and who could play and who could not, different from what the legislation authorized, and the law required.”
After indicating that the licensing of growers and sellers would be completed by the end of 2014, the Quinn administration punted the licensing process, unfinished, to their successors, indicating only that there was more work to be done. And Rauner indicated he was reviewing the whole program with a wary eye.
“We owe a duty to the taxpayers, and we owe a duty to the families of the state to check the process and make sure that it’s done right, according to law,” he said. “I was elected to enforce the law, but we’re also going to make sure that things are done right, and the taxpayers and the families are protected.”
The new chief executive did not confine his Quinn criticisms to pot, taking his predecessor to task for the state of Illinois finances, and stopping just short of accusing Quinn of fraud.
“Governor Quinn has been fundamentally dishonest with the voters and the taxpayers about this budget,” he said. “We really didn’t have a budget. They made up some numbers to get through the election cycle, because they didn’t want to be honest about whether they wanted to push a tax hike.”
Rauner accused Quinn of actions which he warned were “actually unconstitutional."
“What Governor Quinn did was make up some numbers for different departments to get through the election, but he went to the different department heads and said, ‘You can ignore that appropriation level—we had to make up a number to get through this—you can spend what you feel is appropriate and we’ll deal with it after the election, and hike taxes after the election and try to deal with it.’”
Appearing at the groundbreaking of a new charter school on Chicago’s west side, Rauner did not indicate exactly what raised his concerns about the marijuana program and what his timetable might be. But the new governor suggested a decision would come soon.
“We’re going to do it on a timely basis,” he said., “and in the coming days, we’ll be announcing what conclusions we’ve reached, and how best to proceed from here.”