Illinois lawmakers and local leaders respond to Rauner's special address

Illinois lawmakers and local leaders respond to Rauner's special address. (Photojournalist Jon Jenkins)

The following statement can be attributed to Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti following the Governor’s live address to the people of Illinois ahead of special session:

“Illinois’ need for a balanced budget is more critical than ever. The governor made clear his willingness to work with the General Assembly to reach an agreement on a balanced budget to grow our economy and create jobs.
“Lawmakers last week introduced a compromise the governor has said he would sign. That compromise contains priorities for both parties including necessary structural changes that will help bring more jobs to Illinois and grow our economy. Additionally, it will help pay down our bill backlog, which has reached a record $14.3 billion.
“There is a compromise solution on the table. We need the General Assembly to act. Illinoisans deserve a truly balanced budget that will ensure the long term stability of our great state.”

The following is a statement by Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno reiterating the Governor’s call for unity to end the budget impasse.

“A very real deadline looms. We need to use the next 10 days to focus every legislator – and our constituents -- on that deadline and the consequences if Illinois ends another fiscal year without a budget. The time to compromise is now.”

Illinois Working Together Campaign Director Jake Lewis released the following statement in response to tonight's speech from Gov. Rauner:

"Tonight's speech is yet another Rauner political ploy designed to shift the blame for the crisis he intentionally created. At the exact same time the governor calls for "unity," he is using the speech to raise campaign cash and spending millions on political attack ads that undermine any attempt at compromise.
"It is undeniable that things in Illinois have gotten much worse under Rauner. More than a billion dollars are owed to schools. The state's credit rating is on the brink of junk status. Seniors are facing devastating service cuts. Countless jobs have been lost as the state falls more than $15 billion behind on paying its bills.
"Bruce Rauner needs to learn that actions speak louder than empty words. If the governor is actually serious about compromise, he will end his big-money political attacks, drop his partisan agenda, and do his job."

State Senator Jacqueline Collins responded to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s press conference this evening with the following statement.

“The governor is correct that it has never been more urgent for us to pass a budget. This is because he has declared he will not act on the budget the Senate already passed,” said Collins, D-Chicago. “It is disingenuous to make calls for unity now, weeks after the Senate passed a budget negotiated upon with Republican input and which balanced spending and revenue in the same dollar amounts the governor himself called for earlier this year. As I have already done, I’m prepared to return to Springfield to do my duty and pass a balanced budget with bipartisan negotiation. I am disappointed that we must do so needlessly, at a significant cost to taxpayers each day.”

State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) released the following statement in regards to Governor Bruce Rauner’s unity speech he delivered Tuesday evening in Springfield:

“The governor’s call for unity comes a little late. He spent the last month of the regular session filming campaign ads rather than governing. Now he has called us back to say he wants to work together? Where was he when the Senate passed a balanced budget in May? It would have been helpful to make the call for unity 20 days ago, before the May 31 deadline.”

Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) issued the following statement in reaction to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s call for unity among state lawmakers who will begin a 10-day special session called by the governor beginning Wednesday.

“It’s as if Gov. Rip Van Winkle has awakened from a two-and-a-half-year nap to find the state he was supposed to manage is teetering on the brink of fiscal collapse,” said Manar, chairman of a key Senate budget committee.
“While I welcome Gov. Rauner’s input into how we can seal a state budget deal, I will remind him that he and Republican lawmakers are three weeks late in sauntering to the table. Luckily, they will find his balanced budget, with his requested reforms, awaiting approval in the House that already passed in the Senate.”

Ameya Pawar, 47th Ward alderman and Democratic candidate for Illinois governor issued the following statement in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s televised “unity” speech on the eve of the first day of the Illinois General Assembly’s special session:

“Gov. Rauner is a liar, a fraud and a flake. In his brief televised address tonight, he said he wants to work with all members of the General Assembly to pass a balanced budget during the special session, but he’s attacking Democrats with TV ads, mailers and flyers. He said he supports equitable funding for public education, but he has threatened to veto a bill which would increase funding to 270 school districts in our state, including Chicago’s. When he was campaigning for governor he said he was pro-choice, but now he’s against a bill that would expand health care coverage for women that would provide more access to abortion care.”
“This has gone on too long. The governor has been exploiting the divisions between Chicago and the rest of the state and using coded language to play off people’s fears. He would rather see our state divided to put more money in the pockets of his donors than do his job and improve the lives of people across all communities.”
“Illinoisans deserve a governor who will stay true to his word and lead our state out of financial crisis. It’s not enough to talk a good game--we have big challenges as a state and we need a governor who understands how to cut through the politics as usual and get things done that actually improve people’s lives. That’s what I’ve done as alderman, by securing funding for neighborhood schools and passing several pieces of progressive legislation that directly benefit working families. And that’s the kind of leadership I’ll bring to the governor’s office if I am elected.”

State Rep. Greg Harris, lead budget negotiator for the House Democratic Caucus, issued the following statement Tuesday, following Gov. Bruce Rauner’s speech:

“Democrats are returning to Springfield in hopes that the governor is finally ready to compromise on a budget. But, even now, the governor is talking out of both sides of his mouth: As he holds a campaign speech ostensibly calling for unity, he’s also bankrolling negative attack ads and mailers against House Democrats and the very people he is calling on to work with.
“House Democrats have said for two years that we believe a resolution to Governor Rauner’s manufactured budget crisis must be our top priority. We have continually looked for ways to compromise with the governor without hurting middle-class families, and have worked to find common ground so the governor will finally focus on a budget.
“At the governor’s request, House Democrats have voted to cut property taxes, reform workers’ compensation, improve the business climate, sell the Thompson Center and reform the state procurement code. With each attempt to meet Governor Rauner half way, we urged him to return to the table to negotiate a budget. Sadly, the governor refused each time.
“The budget supported by Governor Rauner and legislative Republicans is not balanced. It’s not the honest budget Illinois taxpayers deserve. It’s clear that real negotiations and real compromise are needed.
“Despite the repeated campaign attacks against House Democrats, we have continued to prioritize a balanced budget. In the weeks since the spring session adjourned, we’ve held a series of budget hearings where we’ve heard directly from the victims of Governor Rauner’s budget crisis. From the parents of children with developmental disabilities, to survivors of sexual assault, the men and women speaking out are in agreement: the governor needs to put aside his extreme agenda and compromise. The governor dismissed these people as ‘props’ instead of recognizing who they are – victims of his budget crisis.
“Governor Rauner, your actions speak louder than your rhetoric. After more than 700 days of blocking compromise, it’s up to you to prove that you are finally ready to put the needs of Illinois families ahead of political games and start working in good faith on a budget.”

Sen. Omar Aquino, D- Chicago, released the following statement in reaction to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s televised speech calling for unity in state government:

“Governor Rauner is calling for ‘unity’ in Springfield to get a balanced budget after pulling Republican votes off of the Senate’s plan and spending the last month of the regular session filming campaign attack ads. Now, instead of helping pass the balanced budget that has been sitting in the House since May, he calls for support for a brand new House GOP plan? I’m not buying it.”

Sen. Linda Holmes, D- Aurora, released the following statement in reaction to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s televised speech calling for unity in state government:

“Forgive me for being skeptical about the governor’s call for unity after he just spent the last month of the regular session filming campaign attack ads instead of governing. His call for unity would have been helpful in May when he pulled Republican votes off of the Senate’s balanced budget proposal. Now, 20 days after the May 31 deadline, he’s calling for unity at a cost of $48,000 per day of this special session.”

Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, released this statement in response to Gov. Rauner’s speech:

“I didn’t hear much from the governor this evening that I haven’t heard before. I think that when all was said and done, this address of his was little more than an opportunity for him to get free, unchallenged time on the evening news all over Illinois,” Harmon said.
“Now that this ‘unity’ address is out of the way, I invite Gov. Rauner to take up the balanced budget and reforms – his balanced budget and reforms – that the Senate passed and sent to the House. This is the appropriate starting point for budget negotiations during the next 10 days and the most efficient way to get us to a resolution.”

State Senator Laura Murphy, D-Des Plaines, released the statement below after Gov. Rauner’s self-proclaimed “unity” speech from the Old State Capitol in Springfield:

“If Gov. Rauner had been at the Capitol last month instead of crafting his multi-million-dollar smear campaign, he may have noticed the Senate already passed a balanced budget that contained property tax reform, term limits for legislative leadership and many of the other reforms he has demanded. We took the necessary steps to provide stability and certainty to the state without him.
“Now, he’s called the legislature back to Springfield to the tune of $48,000 per day. It’s time for him to drop the political games and join us in supporting a balanced budget.”

Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez, D-Chicago 20th, released the following statement after Gov. Bruce Rauner’s speech calling for bipartisan unity in budget negotiations:

“It’s hard for me to believe the governor’s call for unity. This is coming from a guy who spent the month of May filming political attack ads against Democrats while the Senate worked to pass a balanced budget. Now, 20 days later he wants to work together? Where was that support when we were taking tough votes to get the job done?"

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, issued this statement in response to the governor’s call for unity:

“Illinois is at a critical crossroad and time is running out. Governor Rauner correctly stated that Illinois must change in order to attract employers and keep jobs and families from permanently crossing our borders. We can start by passing a compromise budget with reforms that will provide critical funding to programs and services while protecting Illinois taxpayers. Republicans from both chambers have placed a package of bills on the table that reflects the priorities of both parties in both chambers and has the support of the Governor. These concepts are not new and legislators from both chambers should immediately finish the negotiations to break the impasse. House Republicans are prepared to finish the job and call upon House Democrats to join us.”

State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Shorewood, issued the following statement in response to Gov. Rauner’s speech Tuesday night:

“The Illinois Senate spent nearly five months negotiating in good faith to find a bipartisan budget compromise with reforms, only to see it derailed. The governor can help unify the state by stopping his campaign-mode, which he has been operating in for over two years. Unity will not happen until there is trust and right now the environment he has created is, unfortunately, anything but trustworthy. A person’s words are only as good as his actions.”

Senator Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, issued the following statement in response to Governor Rauner’s “unity” address:

“Three months ago, the Senate was just hours away from passing the bipartisan budget and reforms of the Grand Bargain when the governor came in and demanded that the Republicans back out of the deal. His actions effectively destroyed the months-long attempts at senate unity and prevented the two-year-long budget crisis from being resolved.
“Now, with just 11 days left in the fiscal year, the governor is calling for unity while running attack ads on Democratic legislators? It's absurd. The Senate Democrats already did the hard work of passing a balanced budget with the non-budgetary reforms the governor demanded and he still refuses to end the impasse.
“Governor Rauner has made it clear that he has no interest in unifying legislators and passing a balanced budget. If he did, he would be talking to leaders and legislators from both parties instead of giving phony speeches and spending millions of dollars on political ads attacking the very people he claims to want to unify.”

State Senator Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago 13th, issued the following response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s speech calling for bipartisan unity:

“I am open to considering any reasonable solutions to this hole that Governor Rauner has put our state in. But we cannot entertain old, recycled proposals that are presented as new ideas.
On May 23, I voted for a balanced budget that is not just a spending plan – it includes the necessary legislation to pay for the spending proposed. The House GOP has yet to introduce a bill to pay for their spending.”

Democratic candidate for governor Daniel Biss released the following statement in response to tonight's "Unity Address" by Governor Rauner:

"Illinoisans were just subjected to the worst infomercial in our state's fiscal history—advertising more of the same hypocrisy out of Governor Rauner that we've seen over his entire term. While saying "failure to act is not an option" with regards to passing a budget, he doubles down on the very fecklessness that's gotten us here in the first place.
I'll remind the governor that he has chosen not to act for the last two years, putting himself, his wealthy friends, and his campaign first. It's time he and Speaker Madigan sit down, take action, and end this pain."

The Democratic Governors Association released the following statement, attributable to Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro, in response to Governor Bruce Rauner’s “Unity” speech:

“Tonight, Bruce Rauner tried to reset his failing tenure as Governor of Illinois by offering nothing new in terms of policy or message. Instead, he pretended he played no part in creating and exacerbating the state’s fiscal crisis. Bruce Rauner purposefully drove the state off the rails, leading to nation’s longest budget impasse in history, skyrocketing debt, a crippling blow to our higher education system, and a ruined social safety net. That is not the record of someone interested in unity or governing, but someone who is willing to sacrifice Illinois’ future for political points. Illinois, under Bruce Rauner’s failed leadership, is moving backwards.”
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