Illinois Republicans are almost ready for their close-up. Bruce Rauner will be sworn in as governor on Jan. 12. A member of his transition team, State Rep. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy), was a losing candidate in the primary for lieutenant governor and instead has been lending her services on her way out of the Illinois General Assembly.
She says there has been plenty of warning of the state’s worsening financial condition. “I remember (the late State Rep.) Mark Beaubien, when he was the head budgeteer” for House Republicans, Tracy says, “he would say, ‘These budgets are not real, they’re smoke and mirrors, they are not balanced in any shape or form,’ and we learned from the fund sweeps of the (former Gov. Rod) Blagojevich years that we were going to have to pay a high price and penalty later on to replenish those funds, so we just expanded services at a time that we didn’t have the money.”
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Tracy predicts a Rauner-led government will evaluate all agencies and programs, and she’s not counting more “low-hanging fruit” being plucked out of the budget.
She says she has come away impressed with the people on and organization of the transition team.