Illinois’ governor is giving lawmakers a couple choices to fix the state’s budget mess; go along with reforms to bring structural change to grow the economy in exchange for GOP support for tax increases, or give the executive branch broader authority to manage the state’s limited resources.
Governor Bruce Rauner said the option of no reforms with broader budget authority is only a shortterm fix.
“It’s not my preferred course of action,” Rauner said, “it wouldn’t solve our long term challenges, but it would at very least allow us to stop digging the hole deeper.”
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Meanwhile Rauner said not every one of his reforms must to be enacted in their current form, but insisted on reforms he says will reverse the trend of a shrinking tax base.
“That will allow Illinois to grow jobs,” Rauner said, “expand our tax base and steadily reduce the total tax burden on Illinois families.”
The governor’s proposed budget also plans to fund early and K-12 education at historic levels while at the same time agrees the funding formula must be reformed.
“No matter how this session unfolds,” Rauner said, “send that education bill to my desk, clean, no games, and I’ll sign it immediately.”
Rauner said the measure increases funding for early education by $75 million to $393 million. Rauner also said his proposed budget fully funds the general state aid foundation level for the first time in 7 years.
Meanwhile the governor said the state must address the school funding formula, but not at the expense of taking money from one district to give to another.
However, the governor did not address higher education in his address, an areas which has not seen any state resources for nearly 8 months.