Gov. Bruce Rauner said he has been trying to compromise with Democrats to pass a stopgap measure for government operations to no avail.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois in Chicago, Rauner said his administration has been working with Democrats to shift money around for human services as part of a measure to fund government through the end of the calendar year.
“But they’ve said ‘stopgap budget isn’t enough, we want a big bailout for Chicago schools or we’re not going to do anything.’ Gall darnit, that is wrong. That is fundamentally wrong. It is unfair. The taxpayers in Illinois did not create the crisis in Chicago Public Schools,” Rauner said.
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House Speaker Michael Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said that’s not what's happened.
“He’s offered more for funding for higher education, which is important, and we’re trying to resolve some of these other issues so it’s still a work in progress, there’s still negotiations going on.," Brown said.
Meanwhile, Rauner warned of dire consequences if there’s a coalition to collectively shut down services municipalities provide the state.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported the state owes $32 million to various utilities, including municipalities, because of the nearly year-long budget impasse.
Earlier this week in Mount Sterling, which the state owes $320,000, AFSCME member Mike Oeser urged city officials to not shut off water to the prison there until they build a coalition with other prison towns.
“Danville, Decatur, Galesburg, Canton, Pittsfield, Lincoln, Logan, Jacksonville, these are all small communities I’m sure are in the same place," Oeser said. "If we fight this alone, this is one of those losing battles. You build a coalition and you move forward."
Rauner said Thursday mass shutoffs would create a crisis on which Democrats would capitalize..
“They’re trying to bring every pressure they can to force a crisis, force a tax hike on you with no reforms and force a bailout of Chicago Public Schools," Rauner said."That’s the fight.”