Rauner to address ‘grand bargain’ during budget speech

A judge has denied a request by the IL attorney general to stop paying state workers unless lawmakers resolve the budget impasse.

Advertisement

That may have been part of the impetus for Democrats laughter at parts of Rauner’s speech.

A hearing on Madigan’s request was held Thursday before LeChien at the courthouse in Belleville.

As he launched an extended media crusade this year, Rauner said legislators who approved pension contribution breaks from 2005 to 2009 cost state workers and taxpayers billions.

LeChein on Thursday made a decision to keep that injunction in place.

Long said the attorney general’s move threatened “bipartisan” efforts.

“Maybe if I share some of my views and comments, I can help with the process and together we can bring it in for a good place and get a final deal done in the very near future”, he said. He praised some specific points by Gov. Rauner, such as fully funding the new prison in Kewanee, restoring funding for school transportation, new state police cadet classes and a new veterans’ center.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who controls CPS, said the state funding formula is “in violation of the civil rights of our children”. It’s not their fault that the governor and the Legislature can’t get their act together.

Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, has repeatedly denounced the system of funding since taking office and assigned a school funding reform commission to change things.

“We’re pleased our hard working state employees, who show up to work every day on behalf of the people of IL, will continue to be paid”.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, has slammed the administration’s attempts to overhaul worker’s compensation as too pro-business and harmful to workers.

AG Madigan thinks that she might have grounds to make this happen, but she’s up against some federal laws. She argued that because the General Assembly has not appropriated funds for state worker pay, the state can’t pay.

In order to maintain a balanced budget, Rauner asked for pension reforms that will slow growth in the state’s longterm obligations.

“Those kids had their lives stolen from them”, Emanuel said. And, given that the state has been without a budget for almost 2 years, there’s some attraction to any idea that might force an end to the stalemate.

Rauner is expected to deliver his budget address at noon Wednesday.

Senators also attacking the budget for a $4.5 billion dollar caveat, based on the Senate passing their Grand Bargain plan. Rauner sided with state employees that.

The “Grand Bargain’s” pension reform bill impacts just three of the state’s five systems, leaving out general workers as the union remains in contract negotiations with the administration and has threatened to strike. Madigan can appeal all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court.

The Attorney General’s office asked that the injunction be dissolved on February 28, allowing time to come up with a budget agreement.

Advertisement

“It penalizes poor kids in poor school districts and rewards wealthy kids in wealthy school districts – just the opposite of what we should do”, Emanuel told reporters.

Chicago school system sues state of Illinois over funding shortfall