CHICAGO – Senate President John J. Cullerton addresses the City Club of Chicago regarding Governor Rauner’s proposed budget for FY16.

SPRINGFIELD – I applaud Governor Rauner for rising to the occasion and delivering a budget just one month after being sworn into office. Given his transition to the executive branch and the fiscal challenges that we face, his prompt delivery of a budget is commendable. However, the content of his plan raises significant questions about its viability in the legislative process.

The Governor deserves credit for keeping his promise to increase education funding for Illinois students. However, I’m disappointed that Governor Rauner’s budget will disproportionately impact the working families of those same students. Governor Rauner’s plan includes proposals that will undermine access to health services, child care, affordable college and retirement security for working- and middle-class families. These programs provide many of the work supports and opportunities that families need to succeed and respond to the economy.

For all the pain that Governor Rauner’s budget plan would extract from the most vulnerable people with human service needs, the basic math still doesn’t work in his proposal. Governor Rauner leaves a $2.2 billion hole in the budget by relying on unrealistic revenues from a questionable pension proposal. Even as the courts review a significant test case, the governor’s plan banks phantom savings for a pension plan that may fail key legislative and judicial tests. When we passed pension reform last year, we took care to exclude possible savings from budget plans pending a legal resolution. The governor’s plan rejects that wisdom.

This is an important day for the Governor, but it is just the beginning of the legislative process. There will be no easy solutions. With that truth in mind, I intend to work with the Governor to produce a final budget that responds to our fiscal realities in a way that makes Illinois just as compassionate as it is competitive.

"Our legal staff is reviewing the Governor's executive order regarding fair share. At the same time, I look forward to hearing the Governor's budget as we search for common ground to address our fiscal challenges."

SPRINGFIELD – Senate President John J. Cullerton released the following statement on the Governor’s State of the State address:

“The state of the state is the governor’s opportunity to give the people of Illinois a fact-based assessment of where we are and where we are going.  Unfortunately, too much of the governor’s opportunity was squandered with campaign rhetoric that denigrates the reputation of the state.
Illinois has made progress since the Great Recession. With each speech that Governor Rauner delivers, I am reminded that the new governor has a lot to learn if he is to build on our successes in Medicaid reform, workers compensation, pension reform, cutting the bill backlog and meeting our obligations.
All of those successes have been bipartisan, but there is still much more work to do. We are going to have to work together to find fiscal solutions that fully fund education, fuel economic growth and meet the diverse needs of working families needing higher wages and child care now. Talk is cheap, but these priorities will require targeted investments.
The people of this state elected a divided government, but the governor will soon learn that it doesn’t mean that he needs to be divisive.  As he begins to shape his budget, one of his principal tasks will be to identify common ground with the legislature as we all keep working for a better Illinois.”