For at least the third time since winning the election, Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner has warned the state’s financial condition could be worse than anybody realized, and worse than he described during the campaign. Rauner made these points during each of two news conferences during the fall veto session at the Capitol, and now, a memo attributed to the Rauner transition team’s budget director reiterates the theme “The Sins of the Past.”
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How long can Rauner blame previous governors and General Assemblies? "He can say that all he wants: yeah, he inherited a mess,” says Charlie Wheeler, a former statehouse reporter and now director of the public affairs reporting program at the University of Illinois at Springfield. “For him to blame it all on Pat Quinn would be the political thing to do and, in my opinion, it would be a cheap shot. Pat Quinn did not orchestrate the collapse of the economy or the Great Recession. Pat Quinn was not in a position to not make the pension payments for umpteen years.”
The memo does not outline possible solutions, but Wheeler says perhaps Rauner is preparing Illinois for increased tax rates, more taxes, less service, or a combination.