Fears about more unpaid bills and court-ordered state spending outpacing revenues aren't enough to make Gov. Bruce Rauner table his so-called "turnaround agenda."
Rauner calls the state's bill backlog, estimated to hit $8.5 billion by December if no budget is passed, as "outrageous." He's not pleased about the state being on pace to having a $5 billion budget deficit for the current fiscal year, either.
But Rauner maintains his legislative agenda needs to be considered along with the budget, or else Democrats can act on their own.
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"If you want to refuse any structural reform, then you've got to just go ahead and do your budget and do a tax hike," Rauner said. "You've gotta chose, but it's going to be your tax hike. You want me to raise taxes, I'll do it, but I'm going to do it with reforms."
Rauner says legislative Democrats can pass a hike over his veto with their supermajorities in both chambers. That majority didn't hold in the House when trying to override his veto on the labor arbitration bill, with the House Speaker Michael Madigan pinning the blame on State Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) for not cutting a trip to New York short for the vote.
Rauner says he had nothing to do with Dunkin's absence.
"We actually see eye-to-eye on a number of necessary reforms for the state," Rauner said. "I did not have any influence, I did not discuss him being out of town or encouraging him to be gone, I was not involved in any of that."