Rauner noncommital on UI proposal

Rauner noncommital on UI proposal

CHAMPAIGN — Gov. Bruce Rauner, in Champaign on Friday for a Veterans Day event, expressed optimism that he and legislative leaders could agree to a spending plan “between now and mid-January.”

But there’s apparently not even an agreement among all five of the principals to meet on Monday, the day before the Legislature is set to convene and the day Rauner had suggested.

He said that three of the four legislative leaders, everyone but Democratic Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, has agreed to attend.

“I think what we’re going to have is a meeting with all of us. That’s what I think will happen,” Rauner said Friday afternoon after speaking to a Veterans Day celebration sponsored by six local Rotary Clubs.

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown was not available for comment Friday.

Asked if he supported a plan advanced by the University of Illinois that would give it stable funding for five years in exchange for meeting certain benchmarks, Rauner was noncommittal.

“I am very excited about the possibility in the coming weeks and months to get a balanced budget, with the resources to fully fund, properly fund, education at all levels, including higher education,” he said.

And he also doesn’t appear to have budged much, if at all, in his demand for policy changes in a budget agreement that would include state funding for the remainder of the fiscal year.

The temporary, out of balance budget that Rauner and the Legislature agreed to last spring expires for the most part on Dec. 31.

“Let’s get together. If we focus and concentrate many of the reforms we need are already in bill form,” Rauner said. “Everything can be negotiated. Everything is on the table. Nothing that I’ve said absolutely has to happen, other than we’ve got to remember that trying to balance a budget purely with a big tax hike won’t solve any of our problems. It will make many of our problems worse. Our job creation will go down. Our cost of living would go up. Family incomes will go down. It won’t solve our problems.”

Rauner specifically mentioned that he wanted term limits, pension reform, easing regulations, a property tax freeze and “more control of the cost of government. Get rid of the unfunded mandates from Springfield.”

All of those were on his list of demand earlier this year when he and legislative leaders could not reach agreement on a budget for the full fiscal year that began July 1.

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Sid Saltfork wrote on November 11, 2016 at 5:11 pm

Nothing has changed.  Rauner's "demands" remain.  He wants a tax increase, but cannot say it.  He wants to blame it on the democrats while his "demands" are met. 

Rauner has gutted the Social Service programs, smaller universities, local schools, etc....   There should be no acceptance of Rauner's "demands".  The people have suffered under Rauner, and will continue to suffer under Rauner.  Keep up the budget fight.  Let him do his damage up to the next election in the next couple of years.  No one can stop him until that time.  He will not be re-elected.