Twin Cities legislators find encouragement in Rauner's budget proposals

Brian Mackey tries to figure out who's right.

Governor Bruce Rauner proposed record-level school funding for the upcoming budget. The Democrat argued that stopping pay is constitutional and that the fallout from not paying state workers would force lawmakers to reach a long-elusive budget agreement. I'm going to assess their claims.

Rauner proposed a budget in 2015 that went nowhere in the Legislature.

"There is no one single bullet, no one single 'must have, ' for our administration", Gov. Rauner said. "This spin is wrong". "That begins with a budget for the here and now", he said. The relevant one here is that they have to be based on existing revenues.

"We still haven't seen the governor do that".

15 budget address, Gov. Bruce Rauner called for $32.7 billion in revenues versus $37.3 billion in total spending for fiscal year 2018.

Senate Republican Minority Leader Christine Radogno said she was heartened by the speech and guidance provided.

He also wanted to sell the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. "For the first time, legislators from both parties are standing together to say that IL must have structural change".

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Michael Rebell, a professor at Columbia University's Teachers College, who tracks school funding litigation, said plaintiffs have prevailed in 23 states since 1989, while IL is one of 16 states where funding challenges have failed. "But for the future of our state, change must be real, not just a newspaper headline". It also says pension savings are not the same as new revenue. The majority Democrats chose "none of the above". However, as it stands, it would leave a $7 billion hole without matching revenue. The governor would then have to sell this balanced budget to the people of IL.

I put it to Laurence Msall of The Civic Federation, a good-government group out of Chicago that recently came out with its own budget recommendations.

"I'm not sure how far it moves the ball down the field", said S&P analyst Gabe Petek.

State Rep. Dan Brady (R-Bloomington) said the governor did his job by presenting a budget, even if that proposal is unbalanced.

MSALL: "But that doesn't relieve them of their obligation to do the best they can to make it better for the citizens and for our state". "We can not settle for something that will only slow our state's decline, we need a plan that will end the slide and help our economy grow good paying jobs".

State Sen. Pat McGuire, D-Joliet, said he's afraid the budget address made passage of the senate's grand bargain budget proposal a more hard task. The governor proposed passing term limit legislation and redistricting reform to "send a message to job creators" that IL is changing pace.

And reforms can save $500 million, or 10 percent of payroll, by finding efficiencies and eliminating waste in state government.

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