Comptroller Mendoza responds to the Governor's State of the State Address




SPRINGFIELD – Take all the governor’s “alternative facts” out of his speech and The State of the State is: Leaderless.


He said he’s “offered many proposals to achieve a truly balanced budget.” Where are these proposals? Article 8, Sec: 2 of the state Constitution gives one very clear direction to the governor: He must prepare a balanced budget and submit it to the General Assembly. Because he has failed to do that for two years, people around this state are suffering.


Because my job is to pay the state’s bills -- with inadequate funds thanks to his failure to propose a balanced budget -- I hear stories every day from child care providers in Chicago, from nursing home operators in Peoria, from state employees in Springfield having their surgeries canceled if they can’t come up with half the cash to cover their own surgeries.


It is obscene that while everyone else in Illinois is suffering, Gov. Rauner has more than tripled his personal income from $58 million to $187 million and funneled more than $50 million into his own re-election campaign; tens of millions more into other political campaigns. I don’t think he can connect with the working-poor college students who had to drop out of state universities because the state has cut MAP grant funding and the university has to cut programs. The high-flying rhetoric in his speech about making the state universities great, doesn't paper over his proposal to cut spending on higher education by 30 percent.


His administration was able to find $4 million dollars to give bonuses to higher-level non-union employees in October just before the election, but they can’t find money to fund social service agencies around the state that care for our most vulnerable residents.


He seems to be living in an alternative reality where his lack of leadership is helping the state move forward and people aren't suffering.


In the last two years, the state’s backlog of bills grew from $6 billion to $11 billion. When we finally pay those bills, we have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars of interest on them.


Our bond ratings have dropped on the governor’s watch. Last week, bond rating agency Moody’s identified the lack of a budget as the biggest threat to growth in Illinois – the single biggest drag on the state’s economy.


The state of our state does not begin to get better until the governor fulfills his constitutional duty to propose a balanced budget. He didn’t even list it as a priority in today’s speech. It’s good he thanked the leaders of the state senate. They're doing his job for him.


You can view the PDF version of this release here.