Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner will deliver the “State of the ?State” address live at noon today from Springfield.
We will be adding posts throughout his speech here at BND.com. Feel free to follow along.
12:39 p.m.: Rauner wraps up his speech: “All of us – Republicans, Democrats, and everyone in between – have a moral obligation to work together to bring change. We…together…can return Illinois to a place of hope, opportunity, and prosperity.
“Illinois is home. All of us love it here. Ultimately, we all want the same things for our home – good jobs, strong schools and safe communities – it’s just a question of respecting each other’s views on how we get there. If we negotiate in good faith, we can move Illinois forward as a state which is both competitive and compassionate.
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“Now, let’s work together to get the job done.
“Thank you. God bless you, God bless our beloved State of Illinois, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.
12:37 p.m.: Rauner looks at his vision of the future: “To build a future where our economy booms and job creation soars. Where states around America watch with amazement as Illinois takes the lead in innovation, job growth and economic opportunity. Where people around the country say to themselves, you know what – we want to live in Illinois – that’s where we want to build a business, that’s where we want to start a family, that’s where we can achieve the American dream.
“It’s a future where our schools are the envy of the world. Where every child from every background gets the same, high-quality education – from cradle-to-career – to get on the path to wealth, prosperity and a high-quality of life.
“It’s a future where our budgets are balanced for decades to come – where our credit ratings rise as our pension liabilities drop – where our economy grows faster than government spending - where taxpayers are treated with respect and their government squeezes every penny to go the extra mile.
“We’ve been at the bottom for far, far too long. It’s time we race to the top. To lead the nation in job creation. To lead the nation in education funding and outcomes. To lead the nation in ethics and accountability. To lead the nation in poverty alleviation and violence reduction.”
12:35 p.m.: Rauner goes off script to thank Senate for work on a balanced budget: “It’s heartening to see the Senate coming together on a bipartisan basis to acknowledge these changes are needed. Let’s build on that cooperation to achieve a truly balanced budget and changes that really move the needle on job creation and property tax relief.”
12:33 p.m.: “Our state’s economy could take off like a rocket ship if we could just come together on major pro-jobs changes that need legislation to take effect. Lawmakers from both parties deserve credit for working for many months to find ways to reduce regulatory costs and property tax burdens that make businesses in Illinois less competitive than our neighbors. Hopefully we can build upon these initial proposals to ensure they drive big results on job creation. And hopefully we can work together to cut the red tape even more – reducing filing fees and costly licensing barriers that prevent hard-working Illinoisans from qualifying for good, high-paying jobs.
“When it comes to the budget, we all can agree Illinois HAS to do something different. Our Administration has offered many proposals to achieve a truly balanced budget with changes that fundamentally fix our broken system. We must remember that to keep budgets balanced in the future, our rate of economic growth must be higher than our rate of government spending growth. It’s just simple math.”
12:32 p.m.: Rauner: “All of us, on both sides of the aisle – President Cullerton, Leader Radogno, Speaker Madigan and Leader Durkin, we all agree that we must have a truly balanced budget and we must make changes to our broken system to return our state to a path of prosperity.”
12:30 p.m.: Rauner addresses budget woes: “We haven’t had a full year budget of some kind in a year-and-a-half– and we haven’t had a state budget that is truly balanced in decades. We have more than $11 billion in unpaid bills, a $130 billion unfunded pension liability, and the worst credit rating in the nation. We have the 5th highest overall tax burden and one of the lowest rates of job creation of any state.
“These problems aren’t new. They’ve been building up for many years as past governors and General Assemblies – from both political parties – kicked the can down the road to avoid making tough decisions.
“Years of irresponsible borrowing and deficit spending have been devastating to human service organizations that assist children, senior citizens, people with behavioral health issues and disabilities, and our other most vulnerable residents. It has caused student and faculty departures at our colleges and universities. Decades of undisciplined spending and uncompetitive regulations and taxes have made employers hesitant about coming or staying in Illinois, limiting job opportunities across the state.
“We are seeing the collective impact of those realities from Carbondale to Chicago, from East St. Louis to Danville. Families and employers are leaving. Nonprofits and small businesses are cutting staff and services. We are failing to be compassionate because we are failing to be competitive.
“These problems aren’t new, but these problems are now ours to solve.
“We can, and we must, do better.”
12:28 p.m.: Rauner talks about technology and innovation in the state. “Working in partnership, we can create a technology and innovation center here in the Midwest that can rival Silicon Valley or North Carolina’s Research Triangle, creating tens of thousands of high-paying jobs. We can recruit companies who are drawn to our great transportation system, our natural resources and our Midwestern work ethic and quality of life. Working together, we can accomplish this kind of growth and opportunity.
“Critical to our success is helping our world-class research universities like the U of I and SIU to extend their footprint in the state, form alliances with other great research institutions like the University of Chicago and Northwestern, and significantly expand their efforts in research and innovation. Our goal must be for our great research universities to drive the same stunning level of company formation, entrepreneurship, innovation and wealth creation as Harvard and MIT have done for New England and Stanford and Berkley have done for California.”
12:25 p.m.: No mention of state budget yet, but it’s coming very soon.
12:24 p.m.: Talking transportation: “We’ve advanced critical transportation projects to improve the quality of life for residents, and attract new families and businesses. We rebuilt 62 miles of Interstate 90 between Rockford and Chicago and replaced or rehabilitated 100 bridges along the way. We expanded the I-57/70 corridor in Effingham and completed a new flyover ramp connecting the Dan Ryan and Eisenhower Expressways in Chicago.
“With your approval in the General Assembly, we are hoping to create a public-private partnership to create a new managed lane on I-55 paid for by private investors – not taxpayers. The project will create thousands of construction jobs, expand the quality of life for commuters, and support faster economic growth throughout the region.”
12:22 p.m.: Rauner talks about getting to the root of the violence in Chicago: “Law enforcement plays a critical role in violence reduction – but in the end, it’s a treatment, not a cure. Addressing the roots of this plague will take much more: to restore hope where hope has been lost, to build a long-term future of quality education and good jobs for communities that need it most. Tearing down the barriers to good jobs and economic opportunity. Getting rid of blight and incentivizing redevelopment. Making sure both the state and Chicago Public Schools treat low-income kids the same as high-income kids. Giving parents more choices and support to give their kids a world class education. Putting vocational training back into our high schools so young people can see a clear path to a career rather than falling victim to the gang recruiters.”
12:21 p.m.: Rauner addresses Chicago violence. “Sadly, our progress in reducing non-violent crime is overshadowed by the skyrocketing rate of violent crime in Chicago. The violence occurring in Chicago every night is intolerable; we’ve got to bring it to an end.
“Violence experts say there’s no single cause and no single solution. But with the right mix of policies – with a joint commitment between the city, the county, the state and the federal government – we can and must find solutions to curb the violence.”
12:19 p.m.: On criminal justice reforms: “Over the past two years our Administration has worked to reform our criminal justice system, reduce recidivism and address underlying behavioral and mental health issues for those in our systems of care, in order to keep our communities safer.
We’re making great strides in implementing initial recommendations from our Commission on Criminal Justice Reform – helping non-violent ex-offenders get back on their feet and giving them meaningful skills to find employment.
12:18 p.m.: Rauner on lead exposure: “Reducing lead exposure—which disproportionally affects low-income children and children of color—is a social justice issue.
12:15 p.m.: Rauner talks eductation. “ Our administration has made education from cradle to career a top priority.
“Two years ago we delivered unprecedented funding for our K-12 schools, and the next year we came back and did it again. In all, our kids are receiving $700 million more per year from the state than two years ago, including an extra $100 million for early childhood education. The practice of proration has come to an end.
“We formed a bipartisan task force to recommend changes to the unbalanced way our K-12 public schools are funded. For years Illinois has provided the lowest percentage of education financial support from any state in the country. And we have the largest gap between funding for high income schools and low income schools in the country, both across the state and within the city of Chicago. The task force expects to finish their work in the coming weeks, and we look forward to working on a bipartisan basis to implement their recommendations.”
12:13 p.m.: Rauner makes an appeal for term limits. “I ask you today, on behalf of all the people of Illinois – Democrats and Republicans – please do the right thing and pass the bills to put term limits and fair maps on the ballot. Let the people decide these issues for themselves. End the power of incumbency and special interest groups, and give power back to the people of our state. Illinois turns 200 in 2018. What better time to give us a brighter next 200 years than by bringing greater integrity to our political system?
12:11 p.m.: “We formed a bipartisan task force led by Lt. Gov. Sanguinetti to recommend ways we can reduce the cost of our bloated bureaucracy and worst-in-the-nation 7,000 units of local government.”
12:10 p.m.: Rauner talks about the “innovative new contracts with 20 of our state government unions to drive more value for taxpayers, by paying more for productivity and high performance rather than just seniority; by starting overtime pay after 40 hours rather than just 37.5; by adding greater flexibility in the workplace; and, we have laid the groundwork for allowing volunteers to work at our state parks and health facilities. These are all common sense changes that are good for employees and taxpayers alike.”
12:09 p.m.: Rauner details his administration’s “great strides in ethics reform.”
12:07 p.m.: On three goals: “Make Illinois the most ethical and efficient state in the nation;
· Invest in education so that Illinois has the best schools and vocational training in every neighborhood and in every community;
· And most importantly, make our state more competitive, more attractive to job creators, to grow our economy and bring more good-paying jobs to our state.”
12:04 p.m.: Rauner: “I am deeply optimistic about the future of our beloved Illinois. We have big challenges and like many of you, I’m frustrated by the slow pace of change in Springfield.”