“Today we’ve seen a complete dereliction of duty by the majority in the General Assembly,” Gov. Bruce Rauner said after the 100th session of the General Assembly closed. “Once again, a tragic failure to serve the people of Illinois. A tragic failure to pass a balanced budget along with critical structural changes to protect taxpayers and grow more jobs.”
Joined by Senate Minority Leader Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), Rauner chastised Democrats and House Speaker Michael Madigan for not working with Republicans on a balanced budget.
Illinois has gone without a full budget for two years, and a new fiscal year starts on July 1. Among the contentious issues that went unresolved in the Statehouse were education funding reform, workers' compensation reform and a $5.4 billion tax hike proposal by the Democrats.
Durkin accused the Democrats of failure to come to the negotiating table with Republicans.
“To say I am disappointed is an understatement,” Durkin said. “I am bitterly disappointed at what has happened in the past three years, of the failure of the Democrats in the House and Senate: their failure to work with us and with our Republican governor to pass something called a balanced budget.”
Radogno expressed similar frustration about the legislative session.
“I am actually deeply disappointed to be standing here today under this circumstance where we don’t have a budget, and it’s pretty evident that we are not going to have that budget,” Radogno said. “The message from Republicans has been clear from the very beginning that we need fundamental reforms to our state that affect efficiency, the tax burden our people have to endure and the changes that will make us more job-friendly.”
Rauner demanded reforms to deal with Illinois' property taxes -- the highest in the nation -- and to empower local units of government to control those taxes. He said the Democrats' work is not done.
“Get [back] here in Springfield and pass a truly balanced budget with structural changes to grow more jobs and protect our taxpayers, especially our property taxpayers," Rauner said. "The people of Illinois deserve this. They need this. Let’s get this done.”