Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is calling on more Democrats to break ranks with party leaders in order to pass a budget plan for the state. Rauner says he was ‘stunned’ that Democrats were unable to agree on a budget plan on the last day of the spring session. Some Democrats did break ranks, leading to the defeat of a House budget plan in the Senate, and a Senate school funding bill in the House.
The governor says rank and file members should have stood up to House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton weeks ago.
“We could have a balanced budget," he said. "We could have reforms. And we could be funding our schools – and we could be on a trajectory of prosperity for the people of the state. The Democrats – they’re starting to get there, and the fact that they didn’t get there yesterday at the end of the General Assembly’s session – stunning failure and a dereliction of duty.”
Rauner’s comments came at a grade school in Mahomet.
It was one of several stops the governor made Wednesday to drum up support for stopgap spending measures that were never called for a vote before lawmakers adjourned their spring session. Rauner is endorsing bills that would allow schools to open on time, and another for government operations, including state universities.
During a stop at the Vienna prison, Rauner said Democrats in the House and Senate were competing to see who could send more money to "bail out Chicago."
"With your tax dollars from southern Illinois and central Illinois, the taxes should go into our communities, not into the Chicago political machine," he said.
State Rep. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) discusssed what role a number of downstate rank-and-file Democrats could play in budget talks.
"These Democrats have an opporutunity in front of them to change the trajectory of our state today," he said. "They do that by breaking from Mike Madigan and doing what it right, what is good, to move our state forward."
Speaker Madigan has scheduled House budget sessions for each Wednesday in June starting next week. But Rauner says that’s not enough. He plans to press the Speaker to hold sessions more frequently.