The governor is spending the last day of the fiscal year visiting state agencies in Springfield and Chicago, trying to reassure employees they’ll get paid.
Gov. Bruce Rauner told Illinois Emergency Management Agency employees in Springfield that they do valuable work.
“We in our administration are working for you,” Rauner said. “I want to make darn sure you guys are paid, you guys are paid on time, and you’re paid 100 percent of your salary, not some lesser amount.”
But it didn’t take long to insert politics.
Click here for summary
“There’s some folks who’d rather have you not paid, there’s some folks who’d rather have you make a lesser amount, we’re not gonna tolerate that. We’re gonna fight hard.”
Rauner is likely referring to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who says state workers can’t be paid without a budget to pay them from. The governor says there’s precedent as a 2007 lawsuit eventually resulted in full payment in August, but only because state government wasn’t prepared to comply with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The court order allowed the state “to pay the full payroll only to the extent it was not feasible to pay a payroll limited to FLSA compliance.”
The court order also did not set precedent for future cases, as the governor claims it did. The overall hang-up, as Rauner sees it, still rests on Democrats’ unwillingness to adopt his Turnaround Agenda. The governor says a partial shutdown is worth the pain if it means reform.
“We need structural reform. Change is hard,” he said. “If all we do is keep the status quo, and all we do is raise taxes to cover up the status quo, we’ll continue in our long term slow decline. The people of Illinois deserve better than that. We can do better than that if we would just vote on these bills, we’ll do a lot better.”
Rauner is referring to his version of “Turnaround” legislation that he wants heard. Democrat versions of the governor’s proposals didn’t pass. The current fiscal year ends at midnight.