Gov. Bruce Rauner lays out his 2018 legislative agenda

Craig Wall Image
Monday, April 9, 2018
Gov. Bruce Rauner lays out 2018 legislative agenda
Governor Bruce Rauner laid out his legislative agenda for Illinois Monday, setting his stage for a high-stakes election year.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- Governor Bruce Rauner laid out his legislative wish list today in what could be a challenging legislative session because this is an election year.

It comes as members of the Illinois House returned to Springfield today, and the Senate will reconvene Tuesday.

The governor is calling his agenda non-partisan and his top priority:

"A truly balanced budget, for a full year, not a partial year, a full year balanced budget, with no new taxes, that lives within our means," Rauner said.

The governor's agenda also includes an income tax cut and reducing property taxes. He is also pushing reforms that include term limits and a ban on legislators working as property tax appeals lawyers.

But, with Rauner battling to keep his job in November there are questions about just how much cooperation he is likely to get from Democrats.

"I know there are some that will say the Democrats don't want to give Governor Rauner a budget," said Bill Brady, Senate Republican Leader, during a talk at the City Club.

"You can leverage an election year to get things done or you can concede that because it's an election year you're not going to get things done. The Governor's attitude is that let's use this election year to get things done because the people of Illinois cannot wait," said Brady.

Brady said if Rauner can get a balanced budget without new taxes he's open to compromise on other items.

But if that's an olive branch to Democrats, Rauner still has problems in his own party. He still has not spoken to Jeanne Ives to mend fences after a rough and tumble primary election, although the governor said he hopes to soon.

Meanwhile, Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined with gun safety advocates and law enforcement officials to keep up the pressure on lawmakers to override the governor's veto of the gun dealer licensing bill.

"There's an absence of leadership out of the governor's mansion so it now requires Democrats and Republicans to put Illinois, the state, when it comes to public safety, on the right course," he said.

"Gun dealer licensing will not stop every gun crime in Illinois, we are realistic about that, but the fact that one bill won't do everything is no excuse for us not to do anything," said Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx.

The governor said he plans to introduce comprehensive gun legislation in the coming weeks. Thursday he plans to meet with the four top legislative leaders on Thursday to discuss his legislative agenda.

"The Rauner priorities seem the same as the past. He has generally failed to persuade many that this is a path to improved prosperity," said Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Mike Madigan.