The countdown is on for Illinois lawmakers to pass a budget, and Gov. Bruce Rauner says he’s ready for a grand compromise.
Rauner said lawmakers have nine days to focus on reforms and truly balanced budgets. May 31 is the deadline for lawmakers to pass a budget for the coming fiscal year with a simple majority. After that, it would require a supermajority.
“There are going to be a lot of distractions, a lot of other thing going on, a lot of other bills that will be coming up, but we’re here to emphasize how important it is that we focus,” Rauner said.
Rauner has said since before he took office that Illinois needs to grow its economy to adequately fund human services. He reiterated his message Sunday.
He said he’s given his Office of Management and Budget the green light to work on finding revenue “to come up with a framework with tax revenues increasing as well as some spending cuts so we can truly balance budgets as part of a grand compromise to get reforms.”
The governor said the state can’t just tax its way to a solution. “What I won’t do, and I don’t think it’s reasonable for anyone to say that we should just put in a tax hike, I won’t do that. I won’t put in a tax hike without significant reforms.”
Rauner said he also won’t approve a budget that spends more than the state can afford. “If the money’s not there, it’s not being honest with the people of Illinois, it’s not being honest with the human services agencies that need to receive the cash.”
Rauner said reforms to foster economic growth, achieve local government cost savings and manage the state’s pension debt are vital to ensure human services are properly funded.