The legislative session adjourned in Springfield last week, but an approved budget remains to be seen. There’s more work ahead for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton to find a common ground with Governor Bruce Rauner amid the state’s fiscal slide.
Interactive: The Rauner Play-by-play
WBEZ's Morning Shift host Tony Sarabia asked Rauner Monday what he thinks the next steps are. Below are excerpts. Listen to the audio above for the full conversation.
Do you stand by your proposed budget cuts? If so, are you going to veto the unbalanced budget Democrats sent you?
Rauner: I’m very disappointed that we’ve been working for months on a bipartisan basis to try to get structural reform to our state government - reforms that can lead to long-term balanced budgets and structural stability in the state and grow our economy.
Unfortunately… Speaker Madigan and President Cullerton and many of the caucus members [and] legislatures that they control haven’t shown a sincere interest in any reforms. They passed an unbalanced budget - I’m still amazed they’d do that. They did it last year - it caused all kinds of trouble [and] they passed an unbalanced budget now. I can’t support an unbalanced budget. Really, all they’ve been talking about are ways to raise taxes.
You’ve put the blame on Madigan and Cullerton...ut is it all them? What does a lack of a deal say about your own role as a leader?
Rauner: We always knew that change would be difficult. I’m disappointed but not surprised so far that Speaker Madigan and President Cullerton have been unwilling to change. When you look at what’s going on in Illinois, they say they are for the middle class, but the middle class is suffering very badly. Who’s thriving is the political class. The politicians are thriving and lobbyists are thriving.
There was a pension bill approved over the weekend. What are your views on that?
Rauner: This is a kick the can down the road pension bill. I am so disappointed in the Mayor and the Speaker and the President of the Legislature for doing another kick the can pension bill. We’ve known for years that we need major restructuring of our pensions. The President [of the Legislature] and Speaker really wouldn’t work with us to come up with a pension reform plan that was constitutional until the Supreme Court ruled and since the Supreme Court ruled they haven’t been willing to to engage on true pension reform discussions. All the city is doing right now is kicking the can down the road on their pensions.