Rauner To Seek Some Common Ground In State Of The State Speech

Jan 26, 2016

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

 Gov. Bruce Rauner will give his second annual State of the State address at noon Wednesday. After a year of stalemate, he's expected to make some effort to bridge a bipartisan divide.

In the year since the governor first laid out his agenda for the state, none of it has passed. Rauner has been unequivocal. Despite Democrats' resistance, and pressure on groups demanding a budget, he's not dropping his controversial prescription for a so-called "turnaround."

"We're not going to back down on it, we're not going to give in on it," he said Monday.

As he stands before a joint session of the General Assembly on Jan. 27, though, he could seek to find some common ground.

According to documents obtained by public radio, that includes a deal for pension relief he's been negotiating with the Democratic President of the Senate.

Look for the governor to also highlight something else that's had bipartisan support: a continued push to reduce the state's prison population.

A senior official with his administration says Rauner will announce a "government transformation" effort that looks to improve IT, alleviate red-tape from procurement rules, and to revise state's economic development agency, often known by the acronym DCEO. Rauner had previously advanced an initiative to make DCEO a public/private partnership, which he said would make it more competitive; Democrats only approved of a trial period for this arrangement. Now he'll update that concept.

Last - but not least - he'll touch on getting more money to schools, paired with requirements for greater accountability from teachers.

Despite demands from groups dependent on state funding, there's no indication in the documents that Rauner will introduce a broad plan to address new revenue, or the state's lack of budget. Rauner will give another, budget-focused speech next month.