In an unusual one-on-one interview as part of the latest media blitz by Gov. Bruce Rauner, the Republican governor said he is trying to convince lawmakers to return to Springfield to pass a stop gap budget just days before the state reaches its one-year mark without a spending plan.
The General Assembly left on May 31 without a spending plan for the next fiscal year and come July 1 the payments that have been made this past year will stop -- unless ordered by the court.
“We’re asking the General Assembly come back to Springfield, do your jobs, pass the two bills we’ve introduced,” Rauner said.
Democrats though, like State Rep. Lou Lang, put the blame on the governor saying, “he should live up to his constitutional responsibilities.”
“When he does that, a budget is just math,” Lang said. “Hard math, but nevertheless, math.”
The governor believes the Democratic controlled House and Senate “don’t want to vote on a balanced budget or reform until after the general election.”
Rauner said the Democrats have “created a crisis.”
On July 1, he’s predicting Illinois Lottery winners will not be paid, human services might get shut down, and road construction could come to a halt.
“Road construction, which we need to keep our motorists safe and also create those good construction jobs, that would be shut down,” he said.
Rauner also canceled his appearance Monday at the DuSable Museum for the Juneteenth celebration honoring the abolition of slavery.
Father Michael Pfleger lead a chorus of complaints in the midst of the budget impasse saying Rauner should not be allowed at the museum.
“We’re watching social service agencies close up, we’re watching violence prevention programs gone, we’re watching the south and the west sides dying,” Pfleger said. “They were already on life support. Under this governor, they’re in hospice now.”
Rauner said he canceled the appearance because of the calls to protest his appearance.
“The special interest groups were going to hijack that and disrupt it, shut down the celebration and I said that’s not fair to the people who are there, so I won’t go down there and participate,” Rauner said.
As for presidential politics, the governor has already stated he would not support GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump.
“I’ve really tried to stay out of it,” he said. “The one thing I’ve been clear on and I will repeat, the rhetoric has been appalling, disgusting. I’m outraged by it and I’m staying away from it.”
Rauner will not attend the Republican National Convention and instead says, “I’m going to make Illinois strong and healthy” that week.