Rauner orders lawmakers back to Springfield for 10-day special session

Jun 15, 2017

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Thursday ordered state lawmakers back to Springfield for a 10-day special session beginning June 21 until the last day of the fiscal year that ends June 30.

In a video posted to Facebook, Rauner said legislative Democrats have ignored Republicans’ requests to stay in Springfield until a full-year balanced budget is passed, and that the failure to do so before the end-of-month deadline would result in “devastating and long-lasting” ramifications for the state.

Rauner’s proclamation comes a day after his party introduced their own budget package that the governor has pledged to sign to break the budget stalemate.

“Republicans in the General Assembly have laid out a compromise budget plan that I can sign,” Rauner said in the video. “It provides a true path to property tax reduction and it reforms the way our state operates to reduce wasteful spending. It will fund our schools and human services, while spurring economic growth and job creation.”

“It is a true compromise – and one I hope the majority in the General Assembly will accept,” he said.

The Democratic Governors Association was quick to respond, blasting Rauner in a news release for waiting to call the special session until after a June 19 fundraising event.

Sam Salustro, Illinois communications director for DGA, said the governor’s decision “shows voters exactly what his priorities are.”

“The fact is that Bruce Rauner is more interested in playing politics than getting a real deal done for the people of Illinois,” Salustro said. “Holding fundraisers and campaign-style events, and running attack ads, is exactly the theatrical politics that landed his as ‘most vulnerable incumbent in the nation.’”

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, who unveiled the GOP budget proposals during Wednesday’s press conference, said the two-year-long budget impasse can come to an end if “House Democrats are willing to negotiate in good faith.”

“We have tough, urgent choices to make, and the legislature must be present to make them,” Rauner said. “In the days ahead, let’s show the people of Illinois we have their best interests in mind, not our own.  And together, we will move our state forward to a better and brighter future.”

Read the full proclamation here. 

Update – More reaction from Democrats:

House Speaker Michael Madigan…

House Democrats will continue our work on the budget from Springfield, but as Governor Rauner has met each of our attempts to date with refusal, it’s clear that the onus is on the governor to show that he is finally serious about working in good faith to end the crisis he has manufactured.

State Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago…

I understand the urgency of ending the budget impasse. I understood that urgency last month, when I joined my colleagues in the Senate in voting for a balanced budget. What I wonder is why Governor Rauner seems to be in such a hurry now. Where was he last month? Where were the Republicans last month when we took difficult votes to pass a budget that will allow us to pay our bills on time?

The governor’s stalling on a budget deal isn’t just frustrating – it’s costly. The special session will cost taxpayers $64,687 a day, totaling $646,870 over the 10-day session. At a time when the state owes $15 billion in unpaid bills, this is hardly money we can afford to spend.

Again, I understand the need for immediate action. I simply wish Gov. Rauner and Republicans had been this interested in working quickly when we voted to pass a balanced budget in May.

State Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston…

As Bruce Rauner and Mike Madigan have proven over the last two years, simply being in Springfield isn’t enough. The Senate worked hard to pass a balanced budget earlier this year, while Rauner, Madigan, and the Republicans refused to do their jobs. And the current Republican “compromise” isn’t a compromise at all – it’s simply political cover to screw over Chicago school kids.

We’ve seen this before: political stunts that cost taxpayers money instead of actual governing.  Sitting down face-to-face, hammering out details not press releases, making compromises, not tv ads is the leadership we need.

 

Related: A Cruel Paradox: Dropping Home Value, Rising Illinois Property Tax Bills
May 19, 2015

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