Rauner outlines his priorities for spring session
Unified bipartisan legislation to change Illinois’ future has been broken down on a list, and ending corruption is on the litany, Gov. Bruce Rauner said.
Speaking at an impromptu press conference Monday, Rauner talked about issues likely to surface in the Legislature's spring session and made big promises regarding property taxes, term limits and exploitation.
“We can’t solve our problems through higher taxes,” Rauner said, adding a balanced budget is the first priority. “We can’t tax away the prosperity; people of Illinois are taxed out.”
Rauner called for a meeting with legislative leaders on Thursday and said they will address a budget tactic that lawmakers have had backwards for years in effort to equal out debt. “To start that off by doing what the law calls for in Illinois, and that is agreeing on revenue estimates for this year,” Rauner said. “That has not been done properly in Illinois for years.”
Other priorities followed, with Rauner saying the second most significant one is income tax reduction and pension that will be born from SB16, which will bring a $1 billion income tax cut.
“To get that done, we are recommending we get SB16 fully passed and to my desk,” Rauner said. "The legislation has passed the Senate and is now in the House. It’s not perfect, I would like to do more on pension reform, but it is going in the right way.”
Next on Rauner's list is setting up November referendums on consolidating governments, deciding prevailing wages on municipal projects and reducing school mandates.
“And pass a law to prevent teacher pension pick ups going forward; we do not believe that is good policy,” Rauner said.
Further economic development is also on the list, beginning with improving the EDGE tax credit program and alter it to the THRIVE program, that will lure more businesses back into the state. Though the governor said his administration has brought in 180,000 net jobs in Illinois, they can do better, which means better infrastructure with a program to work on Eisenhower Expressway and I55.
Another priority is public safety, which will include a multistate compact on data sharing to try to block the illegal shipment of guns.
“Finally, and not least important, is increasing ethics and integrity to our government and there are three primary elements to that,” Rauner said.
One, legislators will not longer handle property tax appeals; two, be more aggressive on sexual harassment; and three, mandate terms limits.
“Ten years for legislators and 8 years for constitutional office holders,” Rauner said. “That is the package of priorities we will be pursing this spring.”
Not on the list, but questioned by reporters, is statehouse corruption, an issue that must continue to be addressed.
“We need everyone to come together to push back against the corruption and failure of the existing regimen that has controlled our state,” Rauner said. “This election is really not about Democrats verse Republicans, this election is about the people uniting against a corrupt machine of self-dealing, unethical behavior, insider transactions and higher taxes that only benefit a few against the people.”