Metro-East News

Legislators react to Rauner’s state of the state address

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Gov. Bruce Rauner AP

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday delivered his annual state of the state address, saying the state has potential, while also pushing for his long-sought reforms including terms limits and referendums to allow residents to lower property taxes.

Here’s how some legislators reacted:

State Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo

“He did a great job reminding us we possess the talent and resources to overcome our challenges if we work together in a bipartisan fashion,” Schimpf said. “The governor correctly noted that last year’s tax increase did not solve the root problem facing Illinois. Simply put, job creators don’t want to come to our state. In order to achieve long-term economic stability, we need the economic growth that comes from businesses choosing to hire people who live in our state.”

State Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton

“Once again, Governor Rauner offered vague ideas, but he lacks a specific splan to accomplish any of them,” Haine said. “In the last three years his failure to present, negotiate and support a bipartisan balanced budget has caused needless layoffs at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville and forced organizations like Senior Services Plus in Alton to reduce vital Meals on Wheels programs. There are (two) weeks until the governor gives his budget address. I hope in that time he is finally able to offer a detailed, balanced budget that finally gives our state stability.”

State Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis

“I agree with the governor that more must be done to create jobs and grow our economy, support our schools and, ease our tax burden in this state. We must do this in a way that doesn’t jeopardize the economic stability we’ve started to achieve by passing a budget. If the governor is truly serious about trying to do this, his budget proposal this year will be truly balanced and not rely on gimmicks or invisible savings like the last three years, Greenwood said. “The hope the governor comes to understand that the problems he and his administration are facing are not because of someone else’s doing, it’s because of his lack of leadership, feigning ignorance, and attempts to achieve nothing short of total victory. If you are the elected governor of the state and something goes wrong you can’t tell people you’re ‘not in charge.’ You have to lead. I do hope that this year the governor chooses to step up and come to the table to work with us. There is more work to be done and it should be done together.”

State Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea

“After watching the governor’s State of the State address, it is clear that he once again is failing to lead our state in a better direction. Our outstanding debt has skyrocketed to over $14 billion since he took office, causing negative implications for many Illinoisans across the state,” Hoffman said. “Rather than trying to establish common ground with both Democrats and Republicans, Governor Rauner has repeatedly derailed legislative efforts that aren’t 100 percent consistent with his anti-working families agenda.’ The bottom line is that the Governor has never been a champion for bipartisan compromise. To get our state back on track, I will continue working with legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle to enact commonsense measures that help middle-class families drive economic growth, while holding powerful corporations accountable in paying their fair share.”

State Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville

“Today, the governor patted himself on the back for accomplishments that he has stood in the way of nearly every step forward,” Stuart said. “Despite decimating our higher education system, Rauner spoke of our impressive public universities which have produced so many of our country’s engineers. He wants to take credit for an education funding law that he tried to turn into a typical political circus, pitting one child against another and putting our local schools at risk. After he tripled state debt and vetoed legislation to provide taxpayers with real accountability of how his administration is managing our money, he spoke of fiscal discipline. He talked about the need to property tax relief, despite sitting on the sidelines and refusing to support the measures we have passed to provide tax relief to the middle class. It’s not too late for the governor to back up his words with real action. I welcome the governor to finally join the legislature in fighting for common sense solutions that will protect and lift up the middle class. Our state needs strong leadership and I hope he will finally take charge and fulfill his duty of being the governor for everyone, rather than special interests and corporations.”

State Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton

“Throughout my time in office, my priorities have been made clear, which is providing kids in Southern Illinois with a quality education, protecting our agriculture and natural resources, and creating a better local economy and more jobs. As state representative, I remain focused on working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to accomplish these goals,” Costello said. “The time has come for Governor Rauner to negotiate and cooperate with the legislature. If he chooses not to work with us, I will continue to work with both Republicans and Democrats on what’s important to Southern Illinois and to get our state back on the path to financial security.”

House Speaker Michael Madigan

“As he has done throughout his administration, Governor Rauner chooses to blame others for the challenges facing our state on his watch instead of being the leader he was elected to be. If the governor were as serious about addressing property taxes as he is about scoring cheap political points, he would have come to the table and worked with Democrats to support any of the multiple bills we have advanced to provide property tax relief for middle class families,” Madigan said. “For the good of our state, maybe it’s better the governor continue sitting on the sidelines and pretend he is ‘not in charge.’ That way, serious leaders can continue working to move our state forward, while the governor can continue to ignore his utterly dismal record without accomplishments, and avoid the real discussion about the damage he has inflicted on our state. While he remains on the sidelines, those of us in the Legislature will continue working together in a bipartisan way to ensure our state moves forward.”

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin

“We must work together in a true, bipartisan manner to solve our problems — meaningful property tax relief, a balanced budget, pension reform and the reduction of the tax burden upon all Illinoisans,” Durkin said. “Together, we can find bipartisan compromises and solutions to put Illinois on the right fiscal path and create economic opportunities in all corners of the state.”

Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady

“Today, Governor Rauner reached out to both sides of the political divide in an effort to move Illinois in the right direction,” Brady said. “By working in a bipartisan manner, we need to pass a truly balanced budget, as well as provide meaningful property tax relief, both of which will help grow our economy and create jobs. As we saw with the historic passage of school funding reform last year, by working together we can accomplish great things for the residents of Illinois.”