SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) --Tuesday marks one year since Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner took the oath of office. Tonight, he's reflecting on that first year.
His staff invited ABC7 Eyewitness News to the executive mansion for a one on one interview with the governor who is showing no signs of surrender in his political war with illinois democrats.
The super-wealthy Rauner spent his first anniversary inside the mansion that he promised to rehab using private money. The roof is new but otherwise the 170 year old gubernatorial residence looks the same as it did last year.
The governor says that during his first year overall state support for education increased as he cut $700 million in wasteful spending. Again, he blamed the budget impasse on Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan, renewing his most inflammatory charge that Madigan, an attorney in private practice, is personally profiting from Illinois' dysfunction.
"He doesn't want to change anything because he loves the status quo because he's making a lot of money from high real estate taxes in Chicago," Rauner claimed.
When it was pointed out that Rauner seemed on the verge of calling Madigan corrupt, he responded, "The political class in Illinois has been running the government for their own benefit for decades."
And the governor admonished Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, with whom he shared an expensive bottle of wine a few years ago after the two millionaires worked together on a merger deal. Rauner said Emanuel is a lot more conservative than the mayor puts on in public.
"(I want the mayor to) say publicly what he'll say privately. He's not fighting for his city," Rauner said. "Its outrageous that the Mayor's trying to blame me and others for his failure.
"But you guys are supposed to be pals, friends. Are you not friends anymore?" we asked.
"Anybody who helps me improve the quality of life and future for Illinois residents is my friend. Anybody who blocks it is not my friend," Rauner saud,
Rauner, whose State of the State address is scheduled for Jan. 27, faces the prospect of doing a budget address in mid-February without a budget for the previous year in place. The former businessman, who made hundreds of millions in the private sector, concedes that running a government is different.
"In a business it's hard, but the group that has to buy in and agree is much, much smaller than in a government," he said.