COMPTROLLER MENDOZA'S RESPONSE TO THE STATE OF THE STATE
SPRINGFIELD—We just heard Governor Rauner's re-election speech. Now he has 14 days to deliver a balanced budget that doesn’t involve pixie dust and magic beans.
I don't know about 'turning yesterday into tomorrow,' but Governor Rauner turned the $5 billion backlog of bills he inherited into a $16.7 billion backlog. He deficit-spent more than any other governor in the history of Illinois - $5 billion a year.
You heard all the applause for his empty promise to propose a balanced budget. The Governor has had three chances to propose a balanced budget. All the objective fact-checkers, Politifact, the Better Government Association, all agree his budgets have been billions of dollars out of balance and his claims to the contrary flat-out lies.
I welcome his call for bipartisan governing. The good news is we do have bi-partisanship. Republican and Democratic legislators came together last year to override the governor's vetoes on the budget and my Debt Transparency Act. Just before Governor Rauner entered the chamber to deliver his State of the State address, Legislators of both parties came together to override the Governor's veto of education funding.
Our Debt Transparency Report we released last week showed he ran up $1 billion dollars in late payment interest penalties over the last 2 ½ years. That’s money that will never be spent on educating our children; rebuilding our state; or fixing the pipes at the Quincy Veterans Home where 13 people have died from Legionnaire’s Disease on his watch.
We need to see a balanced budget from him. We need for him to answer these five questions:
- How are you going to cover the cost of the $1 billion in late interest penalties you racked up by not paying the state’s bills on time?
- What is your plan to pay down the State’s $8.37 billion bill backlog?
- How will you account for the $2.3 billion in unappropriated spending by your agencies last year?
- How will you account for the $1.7 billion in unrealized revenues and savings from failed initiatives like the sale of the Thompson Center and the Tier III retirement plan?
- Can you, for the first time, introduce a balanced gimmick-free budget that doesn’t call for pixie dust and magic beans?