Rauner plans new round of severe budget cuts

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Gov. Bruce Rauner is planning another round of severe budget cuts, and he's putting the blame on Democratic leaders. (WLS)

Gov. Bruce Rauner is planning another round of severe budget cuts, and he's putting the blame on Democratic leaders Mike Madigan and John Cullerton.

The governor has dialed up his effort to take his budget case directly to the people asking voters to put pressure on their state lawmakers.

"Please reach out to the State Senators and State Representatives that represent Lake County," Rauner said.

Rauner returned to Lake County, where he won nearly 60% of the vote last November. He repeated his charge that Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton lead what Rauner called a "political class" and have used their public offices for personal gain.

"They've had a vise grip on our state government," Rauner said.

The governor wants Lake County residents to demand their lawmakers support Rauner's pro-business agenda, including term limits, redistricting, workers compensation and lawsuit reform and a property tax freeze.

"Are they going to stand with Madigan and Cullerton and the political class or are they going to stand for the voters in the districts. Are they going to fight for Lake County?" Rauner said.

Lake County State Senator Terry Link, a Democrat, questions Rauner's style.

"This is the kind of thing that the state doesn't want. They want us to sit down and negotiate a deal, not to have this kind of rhetoric going on," Link said.

Later, the governor's office announced more spending reductions should there be no budget agreement by July 1.

The cuts would suspend funding to virtually all state building projects with the exception of road construction. They would roll back rates for ambulance and dialysis services and suspend some Medicaid payments to hospitals. Amtrak and public transits subsidies would be lowered or cut altogether, and programs supporting urban youth, drug treatment, anti-violence, immigrant support and energy assistance would be axed or reduced.

Before leaving Lake County, the governor vowed there would be no money to restore the services until lawmakers agree to make structural changes.

"I'm not willing to raise taxes unless we have structural reform," Rauner said.

The governor says despite his harsh rhetoric, the lines of communication remain open with Speaker Madigan and President Cullerton. Only 17 days remain until the new fiscal year begins.

Related Topics:
politicsstate politicsbudget cutsillinoisBruce RaunerLake County
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