The audience was different, but the message was the same: Illinois is in a world of hurt, and it’s the Democrats’ fault. Gov. Bruce Rauner convened a meeting of his cabinet Wednesday afternoon. He reviewed the points he has been saying since the May 31 conclusion of the scheduled spring session: the lack of a balanced state budget is the fault of the House and Senate leaders; some of the consequences, absent a budget agreement by the July 1 start of the fiscal year, will be facility closures; the need for “reform,” in the form of such concepts as redistricting, term limits, and workers’ compensation restructuring, must come before added revenue.
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As for today’s “continuous” Illinois House session to address workers’ compensation, four amendments have been filed. After a quick review by his team, Rauner says the legislation is “not real reform. It’s more of the same. More phony reform. More insignificant reform, and we’ve seen this movie before.”
And the governor touched upon the pension situation. He says he anticipated the Supreme Court declaring the 2013 pension overhaul unconstitutional, and the lawmakers failed to take the opportunity to prepare for that. “I tried to get them to negotiate a pension alternative, so we’d be ready to move quickly when the Supreme Court ruled,” he said.
The governor’s own budget proposal relied upon $2.2 billion in pension savings which did not occur. The General Assembly, with only Democrats’ support, passed a budget which, like Rauner’s February proposal, was billions out of balance.
The session continues Tuesday (June 9) in the Senate.