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After Budget Proposal, Governor Goes Quiet

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois
After a speech Wednesday at Springfield's Prairie Capital Convention Center, Gov. Bruce Rauner, right, stopped to talk to a conference attendee, but repeatedly refused to answer questions from reporters.

In the week since his budget address, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has done little to promote his plan or defend it from attacks by Democrats. That’s a significant departure from last year.

Back then, Rauner toured the state, highlighting his call for greater funding of public schools. This year, he took a ski vacation in Utah.

Fast forward to Wednesday, when Rauner made a brief speech at an education conference in Springfield.

After, the governor refused to answer a single question from reporters — on his budget proposal and even on his age.

The ski trip was reportedly to celebrate his birthday, but Rauner would not say which — until an aide told him, “You can answer how old you are.”

“She gave me permission,” Rauner said. “I’m 61.”

Although Rauner claims his budget proposal is balanced, that’s only true if one assumes he can successfully negotiate with Democrats to close a $7.2 billion deficit.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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