Gov. Rauner calls for budget compromise by May 31

Monday, May 23, 2016
Gov. Rauner calls for budget compromise
Gov. Rauner called for a compromise for the state's budget crisis.

Gov. Bruce Rauner called for a grand compromise to end the state's budget crisis, which he said Republicans and Democrats should agree to by May 31.

Republican Rauner said it's up to the Democrats to determine whether a deal is reached before the General Assembly's regular session ends at the end of the month.

"The question is, 'Will the Democrats stand up and do the right thing together for reforms?'" Rauner said.

Joined by Republicans and supportive business leaders, the governor said Monday that there are Democratic lawmakers who privately agree with his so-called "Turnaround Agenda" but are afraid of their party's boss - state House Speaker Michael Madigan.

"Most of them are unwilling to say much publicly because they don't want to get retribution," Rauner said.

Rauner said for him to sign off on higher taxes, he wants bills to reform state employee pension systems, to lower the amount businesses pay for workers compensation and to reduce property taxes by giving local governments more control over when and how they deal with unions.

"Why is this important? Because jobs are leaving Illinois. And guess what? People are following them," said state Sen. Christine Radogno, R-Lemont.

However, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, disagrees.

"I don't see anything in the Turnaround Agenda that really will help the economy of this state," Durbin said.

Durbin, who toured a Logan Square neighborhood infant welfare program, agreed that the state's economy is endangered by the stalemate.

He also dismissed reports that some Illinois Democrats want him to challenge Rauner in 2018.

"I have no aspirations for any other office and I would beg the people who are doing all the speculation to cool it," Durbin said.

Back in Springfield, the governor implored lawmakers to focus on the budget and not be distracted this week.

"You're gonna see a lot of votes and lot of bills pop out this week. I hope they relate to what matters," Rauner said.