Bad budgeting pushes businesses out, Rauner tells Quincy firm
Treading familiar ground, Gov. Bruce Rauner took his reformist message to Quincy recently, where he spoke to more than 150 employees at Titan Wheel.
The stop was part of Rauner's two-day tour of lllinois to promote elements of his "Turnaround Agenda" and push for reform to help the state achieve a balanced budget.
Illinois is operating on a budget deficit of approximately $6 billion, with revenue hovering at approximately $32 billion and spending hitting $38 billion. To address this, Rauner is emphasizing economic growth and pushing reforms. His agenda includes a freeze on property taxes, caps on state spending, redistricting reform and term limits for elected officials.
“I can’t stand what the career politicians are doing,” Rauner said, according to the Herald-Whig. “They’re pushing great companies out of our state.”
Illinois’ slow job growth cannot be attributed solely to Midwestern trends, since its neighboring states aren't fairing as poorly, according to Rauner. He said Illinois has lost approximately 300,000 manufacturing jobs during the past 17 years and has not had any net job gains. At the same time, the state has increased spending by 66 percent.
This imbalance has led to budget deficits and tax increases to try to counter them. Rauner considers these tax increases -- which he says Democrats are pushing for in ongoing General Assembly budget negotiations -- to be “duct tape solutions,” in that they provide only a temporary fix.
At his stop in Quincy, Rauner insisted that if the state addresses its current deficit by increasing taxes this year, it will put itself in a position where it needs to do the same again a few years from now.
Rauner instead is urging reforms that would reduce the state’s spending while creating a more business-friendly environment to promote job growth and naturally increase revenue under current tax rates. This includes a property tax rate freeze that could be overturned only by local voters and government consolidation.
Illinois has the most local government units in the country, so consolidation could reduce the amount of taxes that residents and businesses have to pay to local entities.
Rauner indicated that he is willing to compromise with Democrats in the House and Senate and would support a budget that included reform as well as some revenue increases.
"There is nothing in what I'm recommending that has to be there," Rauner said, according to station WGEM. "If they refuse to do term limits: OK, take it out. If they refuse to do a property tax freeze: OK, take it out. But let's be clear: We have to have a package together that allows companies to have confidence to come."
Rauner placed blame of the state’s lack of a full budget -- now at 20 months long -- on Democratic lawmakers, some of whom have accused Rauner of taking off on a campaign-style event while the General Assembly’s budget negotiations have hit a snag. Rauner responded by shifting the blame back, according to the Herald-Whig.
“Democrats in the majority haven’t even passed a budget," he said. "Talk about not doing your job."
He said that while the state constitution requires a balanced budget, Illinois hasn’t truly had one for 30 years.
“That’s total failure, and that’s what we’re fighting against," he said.
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