Following a private meeting with Gov. Bruce Rauner Tuesday, House Speaker Michael Madigan slammed the governor’s “personal agenda” and faulted him for not pushing to end the state’s historic budget impasse.
Rauner and Madigan have repeatedly clashed over the course of the state’s budget stalemate, which dates back to July of last year.
“Never before has the state gone this long without a budget,” Madigan said. “Every other governor that I have worked with has negotiated with the General Assembly in good faith to help the people of Illinois and to ensure the people of our state did not needlessly suffer.”
Madigan claimed Rauner has been obstinate in addressing the stalemate.
“The fact is the current budget crisis was completely avoidable,” Madigan added. “While this crisis was avoidable, Governor Rauner has refused to put an end to the crisis.”
In addition to this, the speaker slammed Rauner’s contentious pro-business, union-weakening Turnaround Agenda. Madigan claimed the agenda is “targeted at diminishing the wages and standard of living of the middle class and other struggling families.”
The state’s ongoing budget impasse stems from Rauner’s decision to veto a Democratic spending plan because it was $4 billion out of balance. Rauner did however approve a portion of the plan last fall that dealt with the state’s K-12 school funding.
Rauner is now asking Democrats to propose an education bill that spends an additional $55 million and ensures the state’s schools remain open despite the budget stalemate.
Democrats fault Rauner’s education plan for not being equitable and rewarding wealthy school districts.
For example, Chicago would lose $74 million under Rauner’s plan, while some school districts in Chicago’s affluent northern suburbs would receive more funding. As a result, Democrats are pushing to update the state’s school aid funding formula.
During a Tuesday speech at a meeting of business groups, Rauner accused Illinois Democrats of creating a crisis within the state’s public schools as a way to increase taxes.
"They're trying to create a crisis so our public schools don't open, to force a tax hike," Rauner said. "Believe me, it's hand-to-hand combat every day. It's really hard to run a government without a budget. Really hard."
Rauner’s office did not immediately respond to Ward Room’s request for comment.