Illinoisans See Through “Governor Junk’s” Sham Unity Address
Rauner Promotes Phony “Compromise” Budget with Campaign-Like Speech
Chicago, IL — Yesterday, “Governor Junk” gave a sham unity address, propping up a sham budget proposal written by Republicans behind closed doors. The address lasted a total of 3-minutes and failed to mention the word “unity” even once.
Instead of doing his job and negotiating a fair budget after a record 721 days without one, Rauner insisted on uniting behind his “compromise” budget. The only problem with that is Rauner’s compromise budget is entirely lacking in any actual compromise.
Rauner’s tone deaf message was met with appropriate skepticism from Illinoisans across the state. Here’s what they’re actually reading and seeing in the news this week:
From the Wall Street Journal:
Gov. Bruce Rauner cries uncle on taxes and economic reform.
Bruce Rauner spent a chunk of his personal fortune running for Governor in 2014 to save Illinois from its tax-and-spend political class. More than two years later it looks like the former private equity star has made better investments.
On Tuesday evening the Governor with the worst job in America explained why he and his fellow Republicans have offered to raise taxes for the sake of ending a multiyear budget impasse with Democrats. He said he’ll accept a four-year increase in the flat state income tax to 4.95% from the current 3.75%, expand the sales tax and implement a cable and satellite TV tax. […]
The bigger problem is that his proposed deal includes almost none of the reforms Illinois desperately needs to compete with neighboring states and repair its fisc. It includes nothing on right-to-work and little workers’ compensation reform. It doesn’t give local governments the collective-bargaining reforms they need and it fails to solve the state’s $130 billion or so in unfunded pension liabilities.
The Governor’s capitulation may have been triggered by the latest downgrade by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s in the state bond rating to near junk status, with a warning that another downgrade could come this summer. Mr. Rauner doesn’t want to run for re-election next year as Governor Junk.
Governor Bruce Rauner unveiled his opening act in search of a 'Capitol Compromise' the night before state lawmakers return for a 10-day special session Wednesday morning. […]
J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire Democrat running to replace Rauner in 2018, called the speech a "sham."
"So this is Bruce Rauner's idea of unity?" Pritzker asked. "Going into a room, putting a budget together with only Republicans, no compromise involved, coming out, putting the name 'compromise' on top of it and then presenting it."
Pritzker's campaign continues to hammer Rauner for the state's budget woes in an all-out attempt to pin the fallout on him and sink his chances of reelection. Last month, Pritzker's campaign launched a website which prominently features a 2015 quote from the governor during his first year in office: "Crisis creates opportunity. Crisis creates leverage to change."
From NPR Illinois:
Gov. Bruce Rauner is attempting to frame the debate heading into Wednesday's special session of the Illinois General Assembly. […]
The governor outlined what he’s demanding from the special session: namely, legislators taking up his economic agenda, then sending him a budget. […]
Rauner has made his agenda a precondition for negotiating on the budget throughout his term, meaning both parties are pretty much exactly where they’ve been for two years of stalemate.
From the Chicago Tribune:
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner delivered a rare evening address Tuesday in which he called on lawmakers to "put the people's interests ahead of all else" during a special session on the budget, a unity plea delivered as he continues to air attack ads against the very Democrats he needs to persuade to strike a deal. […]
Indeed, Rauner's campaign purchased time to run the anti-Madigan ads during evening newscasts and other shows. On WMAQ Ch. 5 and WBBM Ch. 2 alone, Rauner's ad was set to air a combined 24 times on Tuesday, including twice around the time of his speech, according to federal records.
Overall, from last Saturday to June 30, the ads were scheduled to run 237 times on those two Chicago stations at a cost of more than $180,000. Other Chicago stations had not listed the ad contracts but were airing Rauner ads, as were various cable systems.
From WTTW Chicago Tonight:
Rauner was clear about what he believes is right: To pass a big package Republican legislators unveiled last week, which they dubbed the “Capitol Compromise.” The spending plan (which is accompanied by education funding, local government consolidation and other measures that jump off of, but do not mirror, those Senate Democrats passed in May) is pegged on an income tax hike, but doesn't actually include one.
Though the governor says it's "common sense" and a "compromise,” Democrats thus far aren't considering it either of those things.
Democrats’ reactions to Rauner’s remarks ranged from skeptical to downright negative. Many described it as a public relations sham, and theater, noting the irony that even as Rauner called for “unity,” his campaign has flooded television screens with ads that slam Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan.
From the Peoria Journal Star:
Rauner called for lawmakers to support a Republican budget plan released last week that would set state spending at $36 billion a year for the next four years. Rauner called it a “compromise budget plan that I can sign, one that we all can support.”
Rauner said the plan “provides a real path toward property tax reduction,” and he also repeated his demand for term limits on legislative leaders and the six statewide elected officials.
From ABC 7 Chicago:
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner gave an unprecedented budget-focused state-wide address Tuesday, the day before the start of a special legislative session.
The governor did not let reporters into the address and took no questions. The speech lasted three minutes and 15 seconds. […]
But recognizing the problem won't solve the current crisis that has put social services and higher education into a desperate situation, threatens a state-wide shut down of road construction, and has the state comptroller warning Illinois is so broke it may soon be unable to make some payments mandated by law.
From NBC 5 Chicago:
Illinois has been without a budget for two years, and if a deal isn’t reached by the end of the fiscal year on June 30, then lawmakers are predicting massive cuts and potential shutdowns to help deal with the financial shortfall.
The Multi-State Lottery Association this week said it would drop Illinois at the end of the month if there is no state budget agreement, according to a report. The association, which runs Mega Millions and Powerball, said in internal Illinois Lottery communications it would drop the games in the current state climate.
Chicago Public Schools has also turned to JPMorgan Chase for a $275 million loan to keep operating through June and make a contribution to teacher pensions. CPS finance chief Ron DeNard said Illinois school districts have suffered as the budget impasse resulted in a failure to provide education funding in a timely manner.