SPRINGFIELD – I’m disappointed that Governor Bruce Rauner did not work to compromise with lawmakers to get a balanced budget passed by the end of the spring legislative session. As the bond rating agency Standard & Poor’s said earlier this year, the state’s budget crisis is a “man-made byproduct of policy ultimatums placed upon the state's budget processes” by the Governor.
If Rauner and lawmakers fail to agree on a complete, responsible budget by the start of the new fiscal year in July, the consequences for Illinois and its residents will be dire. The state’s now $14.5 billion backlog will continue to grow, as will the interest the state owes on its unpaid bills. K-12 schools will continue to suffer because of delayed payments. Universities and community colleges will see more layoffs as some struggle to keep their doors open. Companies will go out of business. Social service providers who protect the state’s most vulnerable, like the elderly and victims of domestic violence, will close. Illinoisans will miss out on education and work opportunities, lives will be put at risk and, in the end, taxpayers will pay more for the fiscal lawlessness of going into a third year without a budget.
Governor Rauner has been an abject failure in his duty under the Constitution to present a balanced budget to the General Assembly for them to act on. As long as he continues to prioritize his pet projects over a balanced budget, Governor Rauner continues to own the damage being done to our state. But the Governor still has time to stem the bleeding. I’m calling on him to set aside his pet projects, work with lawmakers and give Illinoisans the certainty and stability they deserve by passing and signing a balanced budget into law by July 1.
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