Video & React: Rauner calls for ‘unity’ ahead of special session

Jun 20, 2017

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday night called for unity and urged the Legislature “to do what is right” to end the partisan gridlock in Springfield that has left Illinois without budget for two years.

Rauner’s brief, televised speech came on the eve of the General Assembly’s 10-day special session, which the governor ordered late last week.

See the governor’s full remarks below along with reactions from both sides of the aisle.

Good evening,

Thank you for joining us here in the historic Old State Capitol in Springfield.

It was here in Representative Hall that Abraham Lincoln delivered a speech that would change the course of history, where he proclaimed: “a House divided against itself cannot stand.”

Our history reminds us of our state’s great capacity for change – and for our limitless potential when those elected by the people put the people’s interests ahead of all else.

Right now, our state is in real crisis – and the actions we take in the days ahead will determine how history remembers us. We can all do better. We MUST all do better for the citizens of Illinois.

We’ve asked the General Assembly to come together in a special session for the next 10 days – not as Democrats and Republicans – but as leaders who share bipartisan concern for our state’s future.

We must agree on a balanced budget plan, and get it to my desk before the end of the state’s fiscal year – one week fromFriday.

Last week, we reviewed a compromise budget plan that I can sign – one that we can all support.  It moves us to middle ground on key issues.  It is truly balanced. It funds schools, higher education, and human services. It provides a real path to property tax reduction.

The plan also stands tall for fundamentals. Spending reductions. Limits on expenses.  Debt reduction. And term limits on legislative leaders and statewide officeholders, including the Governor.

If we can agree to pass it, this plan will send a message across our state and around the nation that we are serious about making Illinois a more attractive destination for investment, new businesses, and new jobs.

If we can agree to pass it, we will stop this unnecessary crisis.

Failure to act is not an option. Failure to act may cause permanent damage to our state that will take years to overcome.

Over the next 10 days, we have an opportunity to change the State of Illinois for the better. To give our people a future they can believe in. To give job creators a reason to come, and families a reason to stay.

We CAN reach an agreement. After all, we share a common mission. We seek to achieve a greater good, to create a better life for our children and grandchildren here in Illinois.

The proposals before us represent a common-sense compromise to put us on a better path.

So, on the eve of what may become one of the most important legislative sessions in Illinois history, we’re asking the General Assembly to do what those who came before us did that changed the course of history: have the courage to dare to do what is right … to act for the people.

And together, we will create a brighter future for every family across Illinois.

Thank you. God bless you.  God bless our beloved State of Illinois. And God bless the United States of America.


Democratic gubernatorial candidate JB Pritzker:

So this is Bruce Rauner’s idea of unity?” he said. “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. The truth is he’s severely underfunded our schools, they’re closing our mental health facilities, the social safety net has fallen apart. This state is in real need of leadership and there’s nothing unifying about anything Bruce Rauner is presenting.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs: 

Illinois is at a critical crossroad and time is running out. Governor Rauner correctly stated that Illinois must change in order to attract employers and keep jobs and families from permanently crossing our borders. We can start by passing a compromise budget with reforms that will provide critical funding to programs and services while protecting Illinois taxpayers. Republicans from both chambers have placed a package of bills on the table that reflects the priorities of both parties in both chambers and has the support of the Governor. These concepts are not new and legislators from both chambers should immediately finish the negotiations to break the impasse. House Republicans are prepared to finish the job and call upon House Democrats to join us.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston: 

Illinoisans were just subjected to the worst infomercial in our state’s fiscal history—advertising more of the same hypocrisy out of Governor Rauner that we’ve seen over his entire term. While saying “failure to act is not an option” with regards to passing a budget, he doubles down on the very fecklessness that’s gotten us here in the first place.
I’ll remind the governor that he has chosen not to act for the last two years, putting himself, his wealthy friends, and his campaign first. It’s time he and Speaker Madigan sit down, take action, and end this pain.

Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti: 

Illinois’ need for a balanced budget is more critical than ever. The governor made clear his willingness to work with the General Assembly to reach an agreement on a balanced budget to grow our economy and create jobs.

Lawmakers last week introduced a compromise the governor has said he would sign. That compromise contains priorities for both parties including necessary structural changes that will help bring more jobs to Illinois and grow our economy. Additionally, it will help pay down our bill backlog, which has reached a record $14.3 billion.

There is a compromise solution on the table. We need the General Assembly to act. Illinoisans deserve a truly balanced budget that will ensure the long term stability of our great state.

State Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park:

I didn’t hear much from the governor this evening that I haven’t heard before. I think that when all was said and done, this address of his was little more than an opportunity for him to get free, unchallenged time on the evening news all over Illinois,” Harmon said.

Now that this ‘unity’ address is out of the way, I invite Gov. Rauner to take up the balanced budget and reforms – his balanced budget and reforms – that the Senate passed and sent to the House. This is the appropriate starting point for budget negotiations during the next 10 days and the most efficient way to get us to a resolution.

Democratic Governors Association: 

Tonight, Bruce Rauner tried to reset his failing tenure as Governor of Illinois by offering nothing new in terms of policy or message. Instead, he pretended he played no part in creating and exacerbating the state’s fiscal crisis. Bruce Rauner purposefully drove the state off the rails, leading to nation’s longest budget impasse in history, skyrocketing debt, a crippling blow to our higher education system, and a ruined social safety net. That is not the record of someone interested in unity or governing, but someone who is willing to sacrifice Illinois’ future for political points. Illinois, under Bruce Rauner’s failed leadership, is moving backwards.

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno: 

State Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago: 

“Even now, the governor is talking out of both sides of his mouth. As he holds a campaign speech ostensibly calling for unity, he’s also bankrolling negative attack ads and mailers against House Democrats and the very people he is calling on to work with.”

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