Governor Bruce Rauner continued his battle against familiar foes during his State of the State address in Springfield this afternoon.
“Unfair work rules have allowed state workers to manipulate overtime policies to boost their pay, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. We paid $22-million in overtime for the fifteen-minute role call that occurs at the beginning of shifts,” says Rauner.
“Our former auditor general has also highlighted as ripe for abuse the practice of so-called ‘shift-swapping’, where workers use sick time for a regular shift, but then get paid overtime to work a later shift that same day.”
Rauner’s criticism of unions was sharp, as the state’s largest public employee union continues to work without a contract.
“I understand that union leaders and trial lawyers are putting pressure on you to keep the status quo. But if we don’t offer a competitive environment for businesses, pretty soon the unions won’t have any more jobs to unionize, and the trial lawyers won’t have any more businesses to sue.”
Rauner advocated for reducing property taxes by giving more control to local governments.
“We have the second-highest property taxes in the country. They’re crushing homeowners and small business owners from one end of the state to the other. In many cases, people are paying more in property taxes over the course of living in their home than the original purchase price. That’s ridiculous,” he says. “The government should not be making more off a home than its owner.”
Rauner also argued for business reform, local government streamlining, term limits and redistricting reform.
Rauner also mentioned that he’s agreed to support a pension proposal from Senate President John Cullerton.
He reiterated his commitment to education.
Noticeably absent from the State of the State speech was any substantial thoughts on the current budget impasse. Hundreds of protesters chanted “budget first” outside the House chamber, where Rauner delivered his speech.
“All of us in this chamber had a difficult year together in 2015. As we debated a budget with structural reform. But it is not too late for this General Assembly to make historic progress for the people of Illinois,” says Rauner.
You can listen to Rauner’s whole speech by clicking here.