Gov. Rauner Unveils His Budget

Gov. Bruce Rauner releases his budget for the coming fiscal year. We'll analyze his priorities and discuss how likely he is to get the Democratically controlled General Assembly to see things his way with Diana Rickert, vice president of communications at the Illinois Policy Institute; Madeleine Doubek, chief operating officer of Reboot Illinois; and Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. Shortly after Gov. Rauner delivered his budget address, he released details of his proposed State Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2016 and Capital Budget for Fiscal Year 2016.

Watch Rauner’s budget address, which begins approximately 37 minutes into the video, and read the full transcript.

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Under Rauner’s proposed Fiscal Year 2016 budget, the level of operating appropriations from all funds is $61.8 billion, which would be a decrease of $4.5 billion from Fiscal Year 2015 (which had appropriations of $66.3 billion). View a graph of how appropriations are distributed by fund group.

According to Rauner’s proposed operating budget for Fiscal Year 2016, total all fund revenues are projected to be $58.6 billion. View the graphs below to see the various revenue sources for all appropriated funds and general funds.

Watch House Speaker Michael Madigan's reaction to Rauner's proposed budget.

Watch Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin's reaction to Rauner's proposed budget.

Watch Senate President John Cullerton's reaction to Rauner's proposed budget.

Read United Working Families Executive Director Kristen Crowell’s response to Rauner’s proposed budget:

"Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget presented today represents a wholesale surrender of our state's future to corporate greed.

Retirement savings demolished. Education irreparably harmed. Working families denied life-saving healthcare.

This will be done in the name of 'efficiency.'  But Rauner is asking so much of the people who can least afford it and so little of the people who can afford it most.

This budget is a living monument to the failed 'trickle-down' policies of Reagan and Bush and deliberately excludes the 99 percent of working families who, unlike him, don't own multiple luxury homes or hide their fortunes in foreign countries.

This budget doesn't trim the fat of state government, it cuts limbs and will harm working families and the middle class just as they begin to emerge from a recession caused by the reckless greed of people like Rauner.

This budget lays bare Rauner's true priorities. He'd sooner slash vital service and put Illinoisans' lives at risk than demand that his millionaire and billionaire friends pay their fair share.

United Working Families will fight back against this heinous budget. We call on the members of the General Assembly to denounce this budget and stand with us. We will support the elected officials who fight this budget with us. And we will remember those who didn't."

Read Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery’s response to Rauner’s budget address:

Rather than address revenue in a responsible way, today Governor Rauner recommended decimating public services for middle class families in order to pay for massive tax breaks for the very wealthy.

Reported cuts to higher education resulting in higher tuition.

Unconstitutional gutting of pension funding.

Slashing health insurance for retired teachers.

Eliminating the social service net for foster children, the homeless, developmentally disabled, and mentally ill.

These are all of the things Governor Rauner would do before asking the richest 1% or corporations to pay a penny more.

It’s not only unconscionable; much of it is illegal.

We need responsible government that serves everyone, not austerity for working families and tax savings for the rich. The Governor’s suggestion that this is the only option is patently false.

And since he is so eager to talk about "fair share,” we’d suggest the Governor accept the crystal clear mandate sent to him by an overwhelming majority of voters and demand that millionaires pay their fair share to bring an extra $1 billion into our schools.  We’d encourage the Governor to ask the 70% of Illinois companies who pay no income tax to pay their fair share. We’d close the loopholes that currently allow corporations to enjoy $2 billion in tax giveaways while working families and our most vulnerable citizens shoulder an unfair share of the burden.

Even while balancing the budget on the backs of local communities and the middle class, Governor Rauner is painting a false picture of education funding. His proposal to "increase funding" is achieved only by folding in line-item appropriations already in the State Board of Education’s budget. What’s more, his plan still doesn’t meet the recommended minimum level needed to educate our children.

It’s a disingenuous shell game.

Read State Sen. Daniel Biss’ reaction to Rauner’s budget address:

“I welcome Governor Rauner's willingness to make specific budget proposals, and I stand ready to work in a bipartisan fashion to enact sensible solutions to our state's problems. However, I am deeply troubled by today's proposal, for reasons of both fairness and fiscal responsibility.

Our state is facing a deep financial hole, and we need to make tough choices to get out of it. But it's important that the sacrifice is shared by all Illinois residents. Instead, the Governor's proposal singles out working families and the most vulnerable among us for the deepest cuts, while asking nothing of the rich. It is simply unconscionable to slash Medicaid, foster care, and much of the rest of our safety net while leaving the most fortunate among us untouched.

Additionally, it is completely irresponsible to claim to balance a budget through pension reforms that would surely be litigated. An inevitable lawsuit will leave the state in financial limbo while the proposal meanders its way through the judicial system, and banking the savings of such a plan during that process puts us at risk of further damaging the fiscal condition of the pension systems.

Still, I remain optimistic about our state’s future and to the prospect of bipartisan collaboration with the new administration. In order to work productively toward common goals, we must embrace the concepts of shared sacrifice and transparent and responsible budgeting on behalf of the people of Illinois.”

Read Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman’s reaction to Rauner’s budget address: 

“In November, Gov. Bruce Rauner was elected on a mandate of change. The budget address he issued today is encouraging, and signals he is willing to heed that call and make tough decisions for the state. For the first time in many years, this budget places the interests of family budgets on an equal footing with those who directly benefit from state spending.

There is no shortage of politicians in Springfield who think the solution to Illinois’ perpetual budget crises is to continue raising taxes. The best evidence for why higher taxes won’t solve Illinois’ problems are the past four years: When Democrats raised the state income tax in 2011, they said the additional tax money would 'pay down Illinois’ backlog of bills, stabilize the state’s pension crisis and strengthen its economy.' Back in 2011, the state’s backlog of bills was $8.5 billion. But after collecting more than $31 billion in higher taxes, Illinois still has approximately $5 billion in unpaid bills, more than $111 billion in pension debt and the weakest economy in the nation. The evidence is clear: More taxes are not the solution to Illinois’ financial problems.

Critics will cite the spending cuts, but this budget focuses spending on the most essential services the state should provide and thus protects massive cuts to taxpayer budgets at home due to higher taxes. As taxpayers, we give our government a portion of our hard-earned money in hopes of politicians using it to make Illinois a better place to live. This year, government needs to do the best it can with the resources it has – this budget does that.

Illinois taxpayers elected Gov. Rauner because they were tired of politicians raiding their wallets to pay for government’s financial recklessness. They were tired of not having a job to go to, and paying the second-highest property taxes in the nation while not having good schools to show for it. They selected Gov. Rauner because they sought a dramatic shift in the way Illinois government had been run.

The spending reform proposed in this budget is the necessary step Illinois must take in order to become a better place for all. All facets of government in Illinois must tighten their belts in order to secure a brighter future for all Illinoisans.”

Read the Chicago Teachers Union reaction to Rauner’s budget address:

“Gov. Bruce Rauner famously said that he’s “been successful at everything [he’s] ever done.” Today’s budget address is no different. Gov. Rauner wants to be successful in destroying vitally necessary public services, including the state’s university system, drug treatment and breast cancer services, public transit, and the Department of Children and Family Services. Evidently, Gov. Rauner wants to be successful at destroying Illinois’ economy, too. The lessons from Greece, Ireland, Italy, and Kansas all show that public government austerity budgets don’t work to fix the economy and unnecessarily and dramatically exacerbate human suffering. The experiences in California and Minnesota show the clearest alternative forward: raise revenue from those most able to pay and the state’s economy can grow and prosper. This contrast points to the real issue: Gov. Rauner most wants to be successful at shoveling money to himself and his wealthy supporters. The tax cuts Bruce Rauner wholeheartedly supports overwhelmingly benefit the privileged few at the top of Illinois’ economy; the vast majority gains practically nothing and loses dramatically. Rauner’s thoroughly disproven voodoo economics is an unacceptable attack on the working families of Illinois, and in his zero-sum world, “success” means failure for everyone else.

Budgets are statements of priorities and morals, and it is clear where the Governor fails on both.

The Republican lawmaker claimed that this is an honest budget and that it’s make or break time. But that’s a deeply dishonest statement and his solution is evidently to break the state. He was crystal clear: any consideration of revenue will only be tied to draconian reforms that harm working people. Like his good friend Rahm Emanuel, the governor is attempting to capitalize on a manufactured crisis rooted in his unwillingness to raise revenue from those who are most able to pay.

There are two clear realities of this budget proposal. The first is that budget cuts will hit every segment of government operations, even those that get an “increase” in funding. The education funding “hike” comes at the expense of other public services on which students depend.  Research is clear that out-of-school factors have huge impacts on students’ ability to learn and grow during school. Thousands of students across the city have transportation challenges, so cuts to public transportation mean that more students will miss days of attendance, negatively impacting their achievement. Rauner’s cuts to mental health only exacerbate the effects of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s cuts to mental health clinics. Students suffer as a result, as their traumas go untreated, as workloads increase for already over-taxed school counselors, and as family members are sent to jail rather than to treatment. The Governor’s cuts to Medicaid ensure that students’ loved ones, often the family’s primary caregiver and source of support, will lose access to healthcare; consequently these students’ ability to be in school and concentrate when there declines. In a Rauner budget, students will be clearly harmed.

The second reality is that this budget proposal is primarily an attack on women and people of color. In Chicago, where 85% of public school students are low-income 90% of learners are students of color, Rauner’s budget is a clear attack on already-decimated communities on the South and West sides of the city. In what can only be deemed a “surprise,” the governor did the same thing to women that he blamed Pat Quinn for: slashing public services and decimating good jobs. Mr. Rauner’s proposal to slash the retirement security of active teachers is a direct attack on women and people of color. Women make up 75% of Chicago Teachers Pension Fund members and 60% of Chicago Municipal Fund members. Furthermore, the proposed pension cuts come on top of school budget and job cuts that have decimated the percentage of Black teachers in the Chicago Public Schools. These combined measures most directly impact neighborhoods like Roseland, Mt. Greenwood, Morgan Park, Chatham, South Shore, Auburn-Gresham, and South Chicago. Public sector jobs undergird the economies in these neighborhoods, and as a result of his budget, these neighborhoods, already devastated by unemployment, foreclosures, and the associated dramatic loss of wealth, are further sacrificed to ideology.

There is only one equitable solution to Illinois’ budget: generate revenue from those most able to pay. A report issued this week from the Center for Budget and Tax Accountability pointed to the real impact of the reduction of the state’s income tax level – a massive transfer of wealth to the richest Illinoisans. Illinois is “broke” because the governor and his biggest supporters do not pay their fair share. The solutions continue to be clear. Rauner should advocate for a surcharge on millionaires. He should support a graduated income tax. He should propose eliminating tax loopholes that allow corporations to avoid hundreds of millions in Illinois taxes. He should assist municipalities’ finances by pledging to withhold state business from any bank that refuses to renegotiate toxic interest swaps. The governor provided practically no detail and proposed none of these revenue proposals.

Illinois’ success depends on the collective support of public services to fuel the entire state economy.

Taken collectively, Gov. Rauner’s proposal only worsens Illinois’ economic challenges and unnecessarily harms working people across the state. Evidently, successfully shaking up Springfield means more of the same discredited 1980s economic theory to benefit the wealthy. Way to go, ‘overnor.”

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