Governor Bruce Rauner addressed a joint session of the 99th General Assembly to provide his inaugural Illinois budget blueprint. Dishing out a dose of strong medicine, Governor Rauner offered an annual budget that reduces spending by $6.2 billion representing a nearly 18 percent reduction from last year’s budget. In his address, Governor Rauner asked lawmakers to work with him to address the fiscal crisis by reducing spending in areas of pensions, healthcare costs for state workers, Medicaid, distributions to local governments, and ten percent cuts in nearly every state agency. The spending plan does prioritize education funding and contributes nearly $300 million for K-12 schools with additional funding for early childhood education.
While the spending plan does not include any tax or fee increases, it’s centerpiece involves major pension reform that could save the state $2.2 billon in the coming year if enacted into law. Additionally, the Governor’s spending plan pays down a half billion dollars in old debt.
The IMA released a statement in response to the budget address:
“The IMA applauds Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner for offering an honest budget that doesn’t use the same accounting gimmicks used by previous administrations. While it’s a dose of tough medicine, Illinois needs to take action in order to get a healthy financial outlook once again. It’s important to stop kicking the can down the road and restore fiscal stability. Balancing the budget while preserving critical programs like education and vocational training will help jump start Illinois’ economic engine leading to job growth and economic development.”