Rauner makes budget tour stop in Southern Illinois
Gov. Bruce Rauner made a stop in southern Illinois during his balanced budget tour of the state.
During a stop in Marion, Rauner said he would trade his demand for a property tax freeze or term limits in exchange for a balanced budget.
"I've said in order to get a package passed, if you want to take some one thing out, take it out. But the key is that the package overall really moves the needle for the people of Illinois for job creation and more economic opportunity," Rauner said, according to WSIL, a local ABC station. "The whole package has to really make a difference."
During his stop in Marion, he said he wanted to fix infrastructure, end useless spending and work to develop more jobs in the state to ensure a good quality of life. He told the crowd that he was against any further stop-gap budget but instead was going after a balanced budget for the state.
"The challenge with that is, we've been doing these short-term deficit-spending plans, because they say, 'We have to do a little spending here or there.' Rather than that, let's do a balanced budget so we can help SIU for years and years,” he said, referring to Southern Illinois University, which has been looking at cutting $30 million from its Carbondale campus. "Otherwise, we'll never be funding SIU at the level we really need."
While the reception at his speech was warm, when he first drove into the community he was greeted by protesters. Resident Debbie Gunter told a local media outlet that she was fed up with the impasse over the budget.
“It is ridiculous to me that he has time to run around the state,” she said.
However, Rauner said it was important to get out and communicate to residents what was going on.
"What we've got to do around the state is get out and communicate with our residents about what's going on,” Rauner told reporters. “This is communicating with Democrats as well as Republicans."
He also said that despite the fact that the General Assembly was not in session, he was being relentless at getting lawmakers to cooperate.
"Even if they're on vacation, I'll get them out of whatever beach chair they're on or whatever," he said. "We've got to get a balanced budget.”
He stressed his willingness to cooperate and compromise but would not give up on creating a balanced budget.
"We've got to live within our means, like the working families of Illinois do," he said, according to The Daily Republican.
He also told the crowd at Aisin Manufacturing that the stalemate was about more than just the state’s budget but was also about the future of Illinois.
"Are we going to stay on this track that we've been on of higher taxes, deficit spending, corruption, unfunded schools?" he said. "Or are we going to go in a new direction, a more positive direction?"
Rauner said he aims for more growth, more opportunities for businesses, higher family incomes, lower taxes and more money for schools.
He also said fair district maps and term limits would restore democracy to the state.
Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) and Rep. Dave Severin (R-Benton) joined Rauner for a tour of the Marion facility.
"I can't tell you how proud I am that they have joined us in state government in Springfield, representing you, and working for you — not the Chicago political machine," Rauner said, according to the Daily Republican.