Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner spoke often about reform in Wednesday’s State of the State address: pension reform, property tax reform, workers’ compensation reform, even tort reform, but a fix to the 7-month-old budget stalemate still seemed a faraway notion.
“If each of us commits to serious negotiation based on mutual respect for our co-equal branches of government, there’s not a doubt in my mind we can come together to pass a balanced budget alongside reforms,” Rauner said. “If we work together, Illinois can be both compassionate and competitive.”
The candidates this year seeking to represent House District 71 both say they’re not optimistic.
Republican challenger, and mayor of Savanna, Tony McCombie said she doesn’t see either side of the aisle in Springfield giving in to compromise.
“I want to feel optimistic that there will be a budget, however I think right now both sides are playing political games with each other and I don’t think either side is willing to compromise until after the primary, and then I think it’ll be extended until the general election,” McCombie told Illinois Business Daily.
Democrat Rep. Mike Smiddy said he didn’t hear the governor say anything about his plans to fix the budget problems, rather just reforms in other areas.
“I am OK with ... the reforms but we need to talk seriously about a budget first and look at his reforms latter,” Smiddy told Illinois Business Daily.
During his speech, Rauner said Illinois must work harder to compete with neighboring states for jobs.
Rauner also pushed for term limits on elected officials and for redistricting reform. He also announced plans for sweeping changes in the public education system that he says would put more money into classrooms and hold schools accountable for their performance.