Pt. I: Rauner Discusses Pension Reform and Turnaround Agenda

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Less than a week after getting a stopgap budget passed, Gov. Bruce Rauner (R-IL) toured the state talking about what it means, including a stop in Rockford.

“It’s a good positive step in the right direction,” said Rauner.  “it’s not the long term solution.  We need a balanced budget with reforms to grow our economy, get more jobs and protect our taxpayers  That’s what we really need.  But, this is a step in that direction.”

The governor says that step avoided a budget that spent $7 billion more than it took in, kept the rest of the state from what he calls a bailout of Chicago schools, and put pension reform front and center.

“I work for all children in the state, including Chicago.  I wanted more money into the system, but for everybody, not just for Chicago.  So, we changed the system and made sure Rockford schools get some more, an affordable amount.  Chicago gets some more on a fair basis, that’s a big deal.”

So, there’s a plan in place for six months.  But, Rauner is optimistic a more permanent solution will be reached.

“I believe in Illinois.  I think we’re going to get there.  The reality is I’ve looked back 25 years [and] I can’t find when Illinois ever had a balanced budget.  We just kick the can on pension payments and don’t pay our bills.  It’s wrong, that created our problem today.  So, we are going to get a balanced budget.  A truly balanced budget.”

Rauner believes the best way to do that is to grow the economy.  His roadmap to that success, involves reforms, three key ones.

“We need property tax relief and we’re going to get that done.  We need political reform.  We need term limits and fair maps.  We’re going to get that done.  We’ve got a big initiative this summer to push on both of those.  The third is we need pro-growth investment reform so businesses want to come here.

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