Editorials

Step right up, folks. Dump the chump.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner delivers his annual budget address to a joint session of the General Assembly in the House chambers at the Capitol on Wednesday in Springfield.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner delivers his annual budget address to a joint session of the General Assembly in the House chambers at the Capitol on Wednesday in Springfield. AP

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner just delivered his address for the 2017 budget year, but spent much of the speech talking about the failure to pass a 2016 budget — now 236 days late and hurtling towards the $12 billion deficit mark like a roller coaster operated by a drunk carny.

Rauner laid out the legislators’ choices as either passing reforms and working together to create a balanced budget or giving him the authority to make necessary cuts. Being a realist, he also told lawmakers that Illinois schools should not suffer if there is another impasse on the 2017 budget, so he was ready to sign a school funding bill that boosts education spending and clears the path for school funding formula reform.

“No matter how this session unfolds, send that education bill to my desk – CLEAN – NO GAMES – and I’ll sign it immediately,” Rauner told them.

No games? What he doesn’t seem to realize is that these are all games — power games, carnival games — and he’s sitting in the dunk tank as the scary clowns in the statehouse keep throwing at the target. They hope to sink him rather than change.

But they must change. Or we must change them.

Raising taxes without addressing the costs of government, and improving the business climate of our state, merely drives families and jobs out of Illinois. In the years after the last tax hike in 2011, Illinois lost $3.7 billion of taxable income. After the last tax increase, Illinois’ credit rating was downgraded to the lowest in the nation. Our pension liability went up $28 billion. School funding was cut ... And now we lag the nation in job creation.”

Illinois has spent $1 billion on interest. That is the cost of playing games. That is your tax dollars wasted on the incompetence of the failed Springfield leadership. How dare anyone spend $1 billion of someone else’s money without producing anything good or tangible.

The games can continue, but Rauner will remain in the hot seat for another three years. As far as the scary clowns, many of them can be replaced with potentially more responsible adults on March 15 and again on Nov. 8.

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