Bruce Rauner

flickr/ Jim Bowen

Looking beyond our state’s borders and into Illinois’ past for a playbook to end the current budget standoff. 

Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said he's hopeful he and Democratic lawmakers can reach a two-year budget deal by the end of next month. The state's already gone 10 months without a budget and that's crippled higher education and human services.

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois/Illinois Issues

Gov. Bruce Rauner visited Auburn High School this morning. Rauner told students the main reason he was in their gymnasium was to thank their teachers for doing the most important job in the America. But he also promoted his plan to increase school funding statewide by about $50 million.

 

That plan would end up costing some needy districts millions of dollars, while adding funds to wealthier areas, because the money would be funneled through a formula widely described as the most inequitable in the nation.

AFSCME Council 31

Contract negotiations between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and a union representing Illinois state workers have reached the state labor board.

Sarah Mueller

Illinois lawmakers have approved a $600 million short-term funding infusion for higher education institutions that have been struggling financially due to not receiving state money during the state budget impasse. 

Sarah Mueller WUIS

Members of the Illinois House spent Thursday evening congratulating themselves thinking they were minutes from passing a bipartisan measure sending 600 million dollars in emergency funding to the state community colleges and public universities. But, the vote never happened.

Gov. Pat Quinn
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois' Auditor General Frank Mautino said millions of dollars meant for state anti-violence programs are unaccounted for. Gov. Bruce Rauner 's administration said the problem happened under former Gov. Pat Quinn and the state plans to recover the money.

Illinois Department of Revenue

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he isn't a billionaire, but he's not far off. Me? I'm Amanda Vinicky, statehouse bureau chief for Illinois Public Radio, and let's just say I've got a better chance of walking on the moon than ever making a billion bucks.

But both Rauner and I -- as does everyone else who lives in Illinois, no matter how rich or poor -- pay the same state income tax rate. The constitution requires a flat tax.

Some Illinois Democrats are moving to change that. 

After months without meeting, the governor and legislative leaders gathered behind closed doors this week, with apparently no progress toward a budget agreement. Speculation continues the Attorney General might go to court to stop state workers from being paid without an appropriation. Some believe such a move could force the governor and leaders to reach a deal. Others aren't so sure.  The State Journal-Register's Doug Finke joins the panel.

Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The speaker of the Illinois House made a rare policy speech during a debate Tuesday afternoon. It was intended to put in context legislative Democrats’ long-running dispute with the Republican governor over state spending.

TRANSCRIPT: On Tuesday afternoon, Statehouse reporters got an email from the spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan. “Let me suggest listening to the speaker’s comments … on the floor,” the message read.

Statehouse exit sign
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois' top legislators and the governor met yesterday for the first time this year. There's no indication it led to any resolution of the state's prolonged budget stalemate.

The private meeting lasted roughly an hour.

Neither Gov. Bruce Rauner nor any of the four legislative leaders had any direct comment on how it went (they slipped of the governor's capitol office through back doors that enabled them to avoid media waiting outside) but Speaker Michael Madigan made clear where he stands shortly after in a rare, ten minute speech on the House floor.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / N

Lawmakers got a look at Gov. Bruce Rauner's school funding proposal today. 

 

As promised, the governor's plan gives every district the full amount of state aid due under the current school funding formula. But that formula, which relies heavily on property taxes, has been called the most inequitable plan in the nation. 

Rank-and-file Illinois lawmakers frustrated by the 10-month state budget impasse are meeting on their own in bipartisan groups to discuss potential solutions. 

flickr/DennisCarr

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says he'll appeal an Obama administration decision last month denying the state millions in federal disaster assistance.  The governor's office says late December’s severe flooding in central and southern Illinois caused more than 16 million dollars in damage.

This week, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno declared, "We need change!"  However, there is still no agreement among state lawmakers and Governor Bruce Rauner on what form that change should take as Illinois continues to go without a spending plan.  Illinois Issues' Jamey Dunn and The State Journal-Register's Bernie Schoenburg join the panel.

Homeless Youth Protest Lack Of State Funds

Apr 5, 2016
Sarah Mueller / NPR | Illinois Public Radio

About 50 Illinois homeless youth and service providers essentially ambushed Gov. Bruce Rauner Tuesday. Their goal was to bring attention to a lack of state funding for job training, counseling and affordable housing.

Brian Mackey/WUIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner has created a task force charged with finding fraud in taxpayer-funded health care programs.

The Republican Tuesday used his executive authority to form the group. It'll seek ways to prevent waste in state- and federally funded Medicaid , the state employee's health insurance and even costs of caring for inmates in Illinois prisons. Rauner says the cost of state-run health care programs increases when no one watches to stop abuse and fraud.

As Chicago State University moves closer to closing, Gov. Bruce Rauner this week said he's “very upset" about Illinois not having a budget. But didn't he once outline just this sort of plan as a way to advance his agenda of hobbling public employee unions? Meanwhile, several things happening in and around the U.S. Supreme Court are reverberating in Illinois.

Amanda Vinicky

Some of the primary races in early March were the most expensive in state history, but it will remain a mystery where all of the money to fund them came from. That does not appear to concern Gov.Bruce Rauner.

Jeff Bossert

Unions landed a victory Tuesday: A tie at the U-S Supreme Court on a case perceived as do-or-die for public employee unions means current rules will remain in place. But Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says he'll continue to try to ban so-called "fair share" fees.

Amanda Vinicky

 Gov. Bruce Rauner says he supports one of Illinois' top industries: Agriculture. But critics say a recent plan goes against his own assertion that he's a “strong advocate” for it.

A pair of Illinois Supreme Court rulings this week are a mixed bag for government employees. The justices struck down a law intended to reduce benefits for Chicago city employees, but also found that AFSCME members cannot be paid bargained-for raises unless the General Assembly specifically authorizes the spending.

Group Says Illinois Is Losing Renewable Energy Jobs

Mar 23, 2016
U.S Department of Energy

Overall employment in Illinois' clean energy sector grew by 9 percent last year. But opportunities in wind and solar energy are falling. An advocacy group, Clean Energy Trust, blames the state's laws and budget woes.

The State Legislative Leaders Foundation

By the end of next week, Illinois will have gone a full nine months without a budget. And yet, the state's top politicians still aren't talking. The governor and the four legislative leaders went all of June through November without meeting, before finally getting together a couple of times just before the end of 2015. They didn't continue into the new year.


Illinois State Labor Relations Board logo
Illinois State Labor Relations Board

Illinois’ Labor Relations Board will hold a hearing to decide if Governor Bruce Rauner and the state’s largest public employees union have reached an impasse.


Amanda Vinicky

Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin -- each collects private donations to help run their state fairs. But despite faulty infrastructure that will cost an estimated 180 million dollars to repair, Illinois does not.

It’s a windy day on the state fairgrounds in Springfield. Illinois' Director of Agriculture, Raymond Poe, laments a nearby building's crumbling roof.

"Agriculture represents about 25 percent of the economic value of the state of Illinois, all the way from farmers to exports. We need a place - and a high class place - to showcase our agriculture," he said.

Trump and Rauner
Trump by Michael Vadon/Flickr / Rauner by Brian Mackey/WUIS

The Republican nominee for president will have Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's support, no matter who he is.

Back when Rauner was running for governor, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was often in Illinois, helping him campaign.

Rauner didn't return the favor when Christie tried to win the White House.

Despite having millions of dollars in his campaign fund, he has stayed out of the presidential primary. Rauner made no endorsements, and has generally skirted questions the race.

A mix of tourists and lobbyists milled about the rotunda of the Illinois Statehouse on Tuesday.
Brian Mackey / NPR | Illinois Public Radio

The Illinois primary election is over — so will lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner finally pass a budget?

Some who watch state government closely say chances aren't so great. 

Sarah Mueller WUIS

Illinois senators voted along party lines Thursday on legislation that would spend $3.8 billion dollars to fund higher education and human services.

Trump and Rauner
Trump by Michael Vadon/Flickr / Rauner by Brian Mackey/WUIS

With victories Tuesday in Illinois and elsewhere, Donald Trump is continuing his march toward the Republican presidential nomination. Those contemplating what a Trump presidency would look like might consider Illinois' ongoing case study in the promise and perils of the businessman-turned-politician.

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