The state is about is head into its fifth month without a budget, and Gov. Bruce Rauner is sending dead fish to Chicago’s mayor.
Rauner proudly held up the “dead fish”—a tuna steak—during a stop at the Paulina Market in Chicago.
“I bought a gift for a special person. I bought some fish. I’m going to send some dead fish to the mayor. I think he will deeply appreciate that, as only he can,” Rauner said.
It’s a play off an old story that Emanuel himself once sent a dead fish to pollster.
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But it’s also the latest jab in an escalating war of words between the two, as Emanuel has been critical of Rauner’s demands that the city support some of his legislative agenda in exchange for property tax and pension-related measures Emanuel needs from the General Assembly.
“It’s a very strange economic strategy to try to hurt your economic engine, Emanuel said Wednesday. “That, that’s how you’re going to grow your economy. The onus is not on Chicago for taking action, the onus is on Springfield for its inaction and I think that the idea of trying to take your economic job engine and your job creator and say we are going to hurt you, is in my view, not a health way of trying to grow the economy and recruit businesses and families and jobs to the State of Illinois, let alone the City of Chicago.”
Hours before Rauner’s dead fish purchase, at an unrelated event, Emanuel said in regards to Rauner, “You’re 120 days behind budget, six billion dollars and counting in not paying bills. Stop name-calling and just do your job.”
Rauner felt Emanuel would appreciate the dead fish joke, and said he’s not taking the ongoing budget stalemate lightly.
“The budget impasse is extremely serious and it’s outrageous that we don’t a budget. There is no excuse,” Rauner said.
Rauner has said the pressure of Chicago’s financial problems could help lead to a budget agreement, specifically mentioning the $480 million in teachers’ pension assistance the city wants from the state. Up to 5,000 Chicago teachers could be laid off without that help, and Rauner believes that could be used to reach a compromise on the budget.
Rauner was at the meat market to lament the fact the market needed approval from the General Assembly to obtain a liquor license due to its location. He said he’s reached an agreement with the legislature to allow those decisions to be handled on the local level in the future.