Rauner delivers budget address to General Assembly

Gov. Bruce Rauner delivered his Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Address to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday. The Governor renewed his call for a $1 billion tax cut for all Illinois taxpayers. He also called for “structural reforms” to Illinois laws that underlie the current patterns of Illinois public-sector taxes and spending.

Assailing what he called “unsustainable growth in our pension and healthcare costs,” Gov. Rauner stated that more than 25 cents of every dollar the State spends goes to these facets of public-sector employee benefits. These benefits far exceed the benefits paid to workers in the private sector, and the cost of these benefits is driving job growth from Illinois to other states. Rauner pointed to job trends, including manufacturing job growth, in Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Governor Rauner also asked the General Assembly to look at the unpaid bills that Illinois owes to entities, mostly in the private sector, that have provided goods and services to the State of Illinois. Illinois is expected to owe $7.7 billion to these creditors on June 30, 2018, the final day of FY18. In response to these spending patterns and unpaid bills, Rauner called for better prioritization of the State’s goals and burdens. He called for increased prioritization of education, including early child education, and public safety, including increasing State Police personnel.

Rauner declared that the State is ready to participate in a national infrastructure plan that will raise critical new capital, without raising taxes, to build new highway lanes and bridges. Rauner especially called out the need for additional lanes on Interstate 55 in and around Chicago.

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