Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner

Rockford Public Schools

 

 

lllinois is in the grips of a severe teacher shortage, but late last week, Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed legislation to raise their wages. The bill would’ve ramped up the minimum salary to $40,000 by the year 2022. In a message explaining his veto, Rauner called that an “unfunded mandate.”

Guy Stephens/ WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has a familiar wish list for the legislative session that begins this week.

Rauner has several items that he’s been asking for since he first ran for office, but his top priority this year, he said, is the budget. He said it’s time to get it right.

“Let’s get a revenue estimate that we agree on, as the law calls for," he said, "and then do a balanced budget that lives within our means for a full year, not a partial -- and that calls for no new taxes.”

Then, Rauner said, he wants to start work on his next priority.

Guy Stephens/ WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner was in full campaign attack mode the day after he eked out a narrow win in the primary.  

Rauner didn’t take any time to savor his victory. Wednesday, he made factory stops in St. Charles, Rockford and Moline to press the flesh and make his case for re-election.  

Last week, the Illinois governor’s budget address outlined several proposals to reduce state spending. One focuses on K-12 schools.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner wants public school districts to begin “cost sharing” their employees’ state pensions over the next few years. Districts would be responsible for 25 percent of their pension cost during the first year, then an additional 25 percent each of the following three years. He said this overhaul is a fiscal necessity.

Susan Stephens

Matt Streb, chief of staff to Acting NIU President Lisa Freeman, says Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed allocation for higher education ignores even a minimal 1.9 percent increase requested by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Instead, it keeps cuts made in last summer’s budget deal.

“The [university] presidents,” he said, “including Acting President Freeman, have argued that the institutions in the state should revert to the Fiscal ‘15 year allocation, which was the last year that we had a full budget before FY ’18.”

johncabello.org

A Republican Illinois lawmaker is calling on the governor to resign. He’s also endorsing the governor’s opponent in the primary.

State Rep. John Cabello told Rockford television station WREX that a lack of credibility was the main reason he thinks Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, a fellow Republican, should resign.

jeanneives.org

The state representative challenging Governor Bruce Rauner in next year’s Republican primary is proposing several changes to Illinois’ pension systems.

Jeanne Ives of Wheaton is calling for three things. First, she want to amend the Illinois Constitution to eliminate protections for government pensions. Second, she wants to enroll all new state workers in a 401(k)-style plan. And finally, she wants to renegotiate pensions as part of an “honest conversation” with both current employees and retirees about the state pension system.

Jenna Dooley

The Illinois General Assembly’s new ethics watchdog can now begin investigating a backlog of 27 cases.
They’ve been piling up for nearly three years while the office has been vacant.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a law yesterday that removes an expiration date on some of the complaints. Rauner wasn't satisfied with all of the bill's content.

“House Bill 137 is very flawed," he said.

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner said athletes who protest during the National Anthem are insulting the country.

The governor's most recent financial disclosure shows he’s a part-owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bulls. During Monday's Bears game against the Steelers, most of Pittsburgh stayed off the field during the National Anthem.

Rauner said athletes who protest during the anthem are insulting the country and veterans.

Daisy Contreras/NPR Illinois

A measure that would allow taxpayer funding for abortions was sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner's desk today, and supporters want him to declare his support publicly before taking any further steps. 

In Rockford to visit a charter school Monday, Rauner again declined to reveal his specific position on the bill.

“There are passionate voices,” he said, “and I respect, frankly, both sides of the arguments. I am personally pro-choice, but I respect the moral arguments and the debate on the other side, and I am listening and we will make a decision in the near future."

Gov. Rauner Remains Silent On State Abortion Bill

Sep 20, 2017
Phil Masterton / WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says he will comment on an abortion bill once it reaches his desk.

House Bill 40 is designed to strengthen the state’s abortion law. Appearing on The 21st, Rauner only said, "That bill hasn’t been sent to my desk. They’re playing political games with it. I don’t really have any comment on it. We’ll talk about it at the appropriate time."

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a law overhauling the state’s EDGE tax credit program. He says it’s now being extended to 2022, in hopes of attracting more businesses and creating more jobs.   

"It allows a company that hires a person, that employee's income tax they pay to the state, the state turns around and gives an income tax credit to the company itself," he said.

State Sen. Melinda Bush sponsored the legislation and says it now includes incentives for companies to expand or move to underserved areas of Illinois.  

Gov. Rauner Authorizes State Borrowing Plan

Sep 13, 2017
Phil Masterton / WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is authorizing a major borrowing plan to pay down part of the state’s nearly $15 billion backlog of bills.

Lawmakers approved a state budget over Rauner’s veto earlier this summer, which called for borrowing $6 billion. Rauner waited about two months to authorize that borrowing, racking up even more late fees for all the unpaid bills.

 

In an interview with WBEZ, Rauner said the budget still is not balanced, but he wants to bring discipline to the state’s finances.

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is in Japan to promote the state’s universities and transportation infrastructure in hopes of attracting businesses.

Rauner had repeatedly asserted that the state’s political system is broken - and that hurts the state’s business climate. Speaking from Tokyo last night, Rauner said one Japanese company looking to grow in Illinois considers local property taxes to be a hindrance.

 

Phil Masterton / WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has submitted a request to the federal Small Business Administration to help Stephenson County residents affected by July flooding.

“Stephenson County was particularly hard hit by the July floods, and we want to do everything possible to help them fully recover,” Gov. Rauner said. “If approved, the SBA assistance could be a tremendous help to many people who are working to repair or replace their homes or businesses.”

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is rejecting calls for a state-level immigrants’ bill of rights.

It came a day after President Donald Trump announced he’s ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which deferred deportation proceedings for certain young undocumented immigrants. On Wednesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called on Rauner to protect those so-called dreamers by establishing a bill of rights. But Rauner said it’s a federal issue.

Illinois Is Making Little Progress On Overdue Bills

Sep 6, 2017
Flickr User Ken Teegardin/Flickr CC by SA 2.0

Illinois government has made little progress in paying off overdue bills.

The state owes more than $15 billion, even after two months with a full budget. That’s in part because Gov. Bruce Rauner has so far refused to refinance the debt. Democratic Sen. Donne Trotter is asking Rauner to get going.

“We remain in a political and fiscal crisis … because of the inaction of a reticent governor, who continually remains silent, primarily through his abrogation of duty on the budget," Trotter said.

state of Illinois

The Illinois Senate has approved a new system for funding schools that will reduce large disparities between wealthy and poor districts.

Legislators voted 38-13 on Tuesday to approve the plan that passed the House on Monday. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has said he'll sign the bill quickly to get state money to more than 800 districts that have been waiting for funding for the new school year.

Lawmakers have tried for decades to overhaul a school funding formula that's considered the least equitable in the U.S.

Flickr User Benson Kua

LGBTQ rights activists say two pieces of legislation should be signed by the governor. Both passed the General Assembly unanimously.

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner was a popular target Thursday when Illinois Democratic candidates met in Springfield for an annual political breakfast.

The Democrats are criticizing Rauner for all the things you’d expect: his agenda, the budget stalemate, and his reluctance to talk about President Trump. 

Gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy said both Rauner and Trump were too slow to condemn the violence and political intimidation last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Illinois General Assembly

Some Republican lawmakers say the Illinois State House of Representatives may not have the votes to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a school funding bill tomorrow.

The State Senate overrode Rauner’s veto with one Republican joining Democrats. But, in the House, the original bill passed 11 votes short of a veto-proof majority. So Democrats would require assistance from Republicans.

State Rep. Steve Andersson, R-Geneva, broke with Rauner, voting to pass a state budget; but he said he won’t do the same for school funding.

File Photo by Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to step up the pace in dealing with the state’s debt.

She’s urging him to borrow money — authorized by the new budget — in order to begin paying off more than $14 billion dollars in overdue bills.

"You should know that this debt is costing you, the taxpayer, $2 million a day, at up to 12 percent interest in late-payment interest penalties," Mendoza said Monday in a video posted online.

"Keyboard" By Flickr User Jeroen Bennink / (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a new law requiring state employees to take cyber security training.

It covers such topics as preventing and responding to data breaches, computer viruses, and identity theft. State Secretary of Innovation and Technology Hardik Bhatt said it’s important to safeguard the state’s network from cyber threats.  

"We are creating a secure enterprise," he said, "and we are training and we are giving the tools to our employees to understand how to keep everything safe, and they become the first line of defense. 

jb-pritzker.com

Illinois Democratic gubernatorial candidate J. B. Pritzker is presenting a formal plan to fight against President Donald Trump’s policies

For example, Pritzker said he supports a bill to keep abortion legal in Illinois if Roe versus Wade is overturned.

"Donald Trump is an egotistical bigot," he said. "Donald Trump is a xenophobe, and he’s a misogynist who cares more about a personal win than about how his policies affect American families."

 

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton says he will send the governor a bill today that overhauls the way the state distributes money to schools.

The new state budget requires that such a bill become law in order for schools to receive state money.

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he will veto part of it because of the amount of money it gives to the Chicago Public Schools retirement system. Cullerton counters that the bill also would send more money to downstate and suburban teacher pensions, but Rauner doesn’t object to that part.
 

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is pushing back against accusations that she has withheld money schools need to open.

It comes as Education Secretary Beth Purvis appeared on Chicago radio station WGN to echo demands made by her boss, Gov. Bruce Rauner. He wants Democrats to allow their school funding bill to be partially vetoed. 

CDC Public Health Image Library

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says the state is the first in the nation to require insurance companies to cover a deadly childhood brain disease. 

Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal virus, or PANDAS, occurs when streptococcal infections (such as strep throat) trigger a misdirected immune response that inflames part of the brain. The condition affects 1 in 200 children, and can be treated and cured with a series of intravenous antibiotics. However, insurance didn’t cover the $12,000 cost until this week.

"Money" by Flickr User 401(K) 2012 / (CC X 2.0)

Next year, Illinois could have one of the most expensive gubernatorial campaigns the country has ever seen.

Among Democrats, recent filings show that J.B. Pritzker spent more than $9 million in the last three months, much of it on media.  The candidate says he plans to spend only his own money on the campaign. By contrast, State Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Skokie, raised about $1 million from donors.

Chris Kennedy raised $700,000 and spent almost all of it. Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar raised $139,000.  State Rep. Scott Drury, D-Highwood, raised $66,000.

Gov. Rauner Aims To Send Message With Staff Shakeup

Jul 13, 2017
NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner failed to get much of his budget requests in the recent legislative session. Now there's fallout in the top ranks of his administration.  

Less than a week after the legislature overrode the governor's vetoes -- passing a budget and tax increase -- Rauner dismissed his Chief of Staff, Communications Director and others.  

Jenna Dooley

The Illinois Senate took action Tuesday meant to end a two-year budget stalemate. 

After two years of no budget and under threat of “junk bond” status, Democrats finally convinced enough Republican lawmakers to break with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

What would be the state’s first full budget in years includes an unpopular income tax increase.

Dale Righter of Mattoon is the only Republican senator who was persuaded to vote for it.

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