Gov. Bruce Rauner is offering few clues as to what he’ll propose in his first budget. Cuts in spending are expected, but Rauner has made it clear that’s not the only solution to the state’s problems. “Purely cutting alone, without structural pro-growth reform, won’t get us there,” Rauner said.
The main budget point Rauner mentioned as a candidate was getting rid of the 2011 temporary increase in the state income tax rate, which fell to 3.75 percent at the beginning of the year. Even facing a full fiscal year without that revenue, Rauner doesn’t seem high on the idea of moving the rate up again.
“It’s the budget we can afford with our current structure,” Rauner said. “The law requires me to submit a budget that outlines that way, and that’s what we will do.”
Rauner claims the “pro-growth” policies he mentioned in his State of the State address will bring in more revenue to the state over time. He may also cover a portion of the lost revenue by making a firm proposal on charging sales taxes on services that currently go untaxed, another idea he brought up on the campaign trail.
No matter what he proposes, Rauner expects he won’t be well liked after Wednesday’s address. “To change a structure in Illinois that is fundamentally broken, I’m going to be unpopular for a while. That’s OK,” Rauner said.