Governor Bruce Rauner Signs $38 Billion Budget

Rauner and Democrats who control the General Assembly couldn't agree on a plan in 2015 or 2016.

Gov. Bruce Rauner, the Republican who arrived in town three years ago and fought established Democrats so hard the state was thrust into fiscal crisis, has signed a $38.5 billion bipartisan budget plan, the first agreement reached on time in four years.

Calling it a "good day for the people of Illinois" Rauner signed the bill in a "small celebration" at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago Monday. 

"It is a compromise, it is not perfect but it is a good step in the right direction," he said. "This was a great team effort." 

Members from both parties were in attendance for the signing, many echoing the governor's teamwork praise. 

"We were able to develop a product that I think the people of Illinois can be happy about, proud of and that can move our state forward," said state Sen. Bill Brady. 

Rauner had indicated he would sign the plan after lawmakers sent it his way last week. 

The spending plan, approved on lopsided bipartisan votes by a General Assembly accustomed to late-May fiscal clashes, won House approval 97-18 Thursday.

"We worked together to provide a budget to the people of Illinois that can be balanced with hard work and continued bipartisan effort to deliver on the promises it makes," Rauner said in a statement in which he promised quick action to enact the plan for the year that begins July 1.

The Senate voted 56-2 Wednesday night on the plan that increases elementary and secondary education by $350 million and fully funds the state's pension obligations and $4 billion for state employee group health insurance.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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