Rauner asks for executive authority to handle budget

By Gary Scott on February 17, 2016 at 1:08pm

Governor Bruce Rauner used his state budget address today in Springfield to request more power for the executive branch to make financial decisions for the state.

Rauner repeated his request for lawmakers to work with him and compromise, indicating he rejected a budget that was $4-billion out of balance last year. On the flip side, he said lawmakers rejected a budget his administration proposed that represented $6-billion in cuts.

Illinois has been without an operating budget for the current fiscal year that started last July.

“The Unbalanced Budget Response Act would put everything on the table to help us balance our budget. To balance the budget without reform will have to take a microscope to every other category of state spending,” Rauner told lawmakers.

“You’ve given emergency budget authority to governors in the past. Other states have, too. And no one can dispute that we have an emergency on our hands. It’s not my preferred course of action. It wouldn’t solve our long-term challenges. But it would at the very least allow us to stop digging the hole deeper,” he added.

Rauner also stated that Republican leaders in the House and Senate will be introducing a standalone appropriations bill for early childhood education and K-12 schools in Illinois.

Rauner is proposing about $393-million in early childhood education.

“This will mark the most state money we’ve ever invested in our school funding formula and eliminate the need for any proration, a practice that has forced teachers, administrators and school boards to make cuts that negatively impact our kids,” he stated.

“We must fully fund this foundation level as a first step towards reforming our school funding formula. Our current formula doesn’t meet the needs of our children. Past attempts to fix the formula didn’t work because they pitted communities against each other,” continued Rauner.

You can hear the full budget address by clicking here.