Rauner calls Special Session, still blocking budget
With Governor Bruce Rauner still stubbornly holding Illinois hostage to his anti-worker demands—ignoring the damage he’s doing to the state and its people—the General Assembly didn’t pass a budget for the coming fiscal year before its scheduled May 31 adjournment date.
House Speaker Michael Madigan said that the House would return weekly for “continuous session,” and Senate President John Cullerton made clear that it’s Rauner’s responsibility to do his job and negotiate with legislative leaders.
With the General Assembly now in overtime, a budget or any other legislation with an immediate effective date requires a three-fifths super-majority to pass. That means there will be no budget for the third straight year, unless Republican legislators stand up for their constituents instead of bowing down to the governor.
Rauner’s budget crisis has plunged Illinois into chaos, causing myriad problems for working people, students, seniors and those in need, and driving the state’s credit rating to near junk status—all in the name of Rauner’s so-called “reforms.”
“State employees who have had to deal with Rauner across the bargaining table and at our worksites for more than two years now know only too well that he is reckless, irresponsible and dishonest,” Council 31 Deputy Director Mike Newman said. “But what’s worse is he is completely indifferent to the harm he inflicts on others.”
A partial list of that harm includes:
- Nearly $14 billion and growing in unpaid bills and interest owed by state government;
- Public universities starved of resources, forcing layoffs, driving away talented faculty and students, and increasing the likelihood of tuition hikes;
- Health care and human services cut back or eliminated;
- People who care for those with disabilities in community agencies struggling with poverty wages, adding to a workforce crisis that has reached catastrophic proportions;
- An uncertain future for public employees and retirees as Rauner pushes to cut pensions and underfund the state health insurance program, while the court order that continues state employee paychecks could be overturned at any time.
Some good things did pass the General Assembly, like the AFSCME-backed privatization bill that puts rigorous safeguards on outsourcing and the long overdue minimum wage increase. They now go to the governor’s desk, where vetoes are likely.
Meanwhile, with Rauner still blocking a budget, the short-term future is bleak—underscoring the importance of defeating Rauner and electing a new governor next year.