Lawmakers and government watchers are taking stock of the governor’s first year in office and say all sides need to come together to fix the state’s problems.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner will celebrate his first year in office without lawmakers passing a budget that has spending equal to revenues.
The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute’s David Yepsen said “the governor deserves some credit here for being willing to consider some additional tax revenues through an extended sales tax base as part of this negotiation,” but Yepsen criticized the governor for going heavy against unions in a union stronghold state.
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Hinsdale Republican Representative Patti Bellock says Republicans have stood strong with the governor because things need to change.
“I think in order to make change,” Bellock said, “we have to hold together. So we’ve been through some tough votes in the spring and the summer and we have held together because we want to support the governor because we know that he can bring about change.”
Bellock hopes leaders can come together for a budget solution sooner rather than later to help the state’s most vulnerable citizens.
Northbrook Democratic Representative Elaine Nekritz says “government is about compromising and the art of the possible.” Nekritz says that’s not how Rauner and legislative leaders have approached it. “I think there’s ways to reach the middle ground but he’s (Rauner) not seemed willing to do that and as a result the Speaker (Michael Madigan) has dug in his heels.”
Illinois Times Reporter Bruce Rushton says the governor has some lessons to learn after the first year. “It’s not about ideology, it’s not about me -- per se -- it’s not about what I think should happen,” Rushton said of the governor. “It’s about what’s possible, the politics of the possible, not the ideal.”