Gov. Rauner: budget proposal would plug hole in state's pocketbook

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Wednesday, Governor Bruce Rauner delivered his fourth and final budget address of his first term, at the Capitol.

"For years, even decades, our lawmakers have used political maneuvers and loopholes to "balance" the state budget without reforms", Idstein added in a post to Facebook.

It also seeks to cut $470 million from employee healthcare costs by removing that benefit from collective bargaining with unions. Most people don't want the state to make deep cuts to social services like Medicaid, mental health, education and other programs.

Sen. Anderson said it appears the governor has presented a balanced budget.

"That unbalanced budget was built on the back of a $4.5 billion income tax increase, $6 billion in long-term debt, and a still increasing backlog of unpaid bills expected to rise to $7.7 billion by the end of this fiscal year".

Richard Wandling, the chair of the political science department, said this pension sharing idea is something that downstate schools and public universities will not be happy about.

- House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs: "It is now time for the General Assembly to come together in a bipartisan manner to do its work and enact a long overdue balanced budget that IL taxpayers deserve". He said as a result, lawmakers would carefully review the latest budget to ensure it is balanced and fills the needs of people in IL.

The shift would cost school districts $490 million in fiscal 2019, with a $228 million hit to the cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools.

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"We must enact structured reforms to allow us to be as competitive as we need to be so we can be as compassionate as we want to be", Rauner said.

Quincy Senior High School is one of many IL schools anxious about drained resources if its paying more of their teacher's pensions.

"We still don't know if he's going to get some of the reform initiatives through, whether it's from the pension cost shift [or] the selling of the Thompson Center", Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, who is challenging Rauner in the Republican primary for governor, told reporters in a press conference. He has backed a proposal from Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, that asks employees to accept some cost-saving cuts in exchange for future raises being counted toward their pensionable salary.

Rauner, however, said his budget will give schools and local governments tools "to more than offset the costs". Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, said the shift would reverse the entire reason for the funding-formula changes - more equity in how the state pays for education.

"We simply have to slow the growth of government spendin'", said the folksy G-dropping governor. It's something, she said, that both Democrats and Republicans have supported in theory in the past.

Rauner's answer, unveiled Wednesday, seems to strike at a trend I've noticed at the local, state and federal level.

The rise in cost for school districts could lead to a rise in costs for local taxpayers, as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Daiber pointed out in his own press conference.

"We have a comprehensive education system in which we have other institutions in the state that play an important role... and it's important that they be self-sustaining entities because they contribute great things to the collective benefit of the state", Wandling said.

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