Emphasizing the negative impact the ongoing budget stalemate has on many state services and programs, Governor Bruce Rauner reached out to members of the General Assembly this week to once again encourage lawmakers to work with him to pass a state budget that includes economy-boosting, money-saving reforms.
Republican lawmakers have joined the Governor in saying they stand ready and willing to work on budget compromise with their Democrat counterparts, but stress structural reforms to state government must be part of that plan. To date, Democrats have remained less-than-willing to engage in a meaningful conversation about these reform options, claiming they are “non-budget” items.
However, the Governor pointed out that asserting structural reforms are non-budget items is akin to saying crude oil is a “non-automobile item,” even though gasoline provides the fuel that allows the car to function.
Rauner noted that structural reforms to state government—which he estimates would have a net fiscal impact of more than $5 billion—will create a stronger economy to produce more revenue for Illinois, and result in much-needed cost-savings for state and local governments. These reforms include changes to the state’s workers’ compensation system, reforms that would allow state’s and local governments to reduce labor costs, and modifications that would improve the state’s legal climate.
If a state budget isn’t passed by the end of September, it will be the first time in Illinois history the state will end the first quarter of the fiscal year without a budget.