President Cullerton says it time to hit the reset button and move toward a resolution

CHICAGO – Senate President John J. Cullerton today called on Gov. Bruce Rauner to reset the budget process by submitting a new balanced budget plan that can end the state’s immediate fiscal crisis.

Three weeks into the new fiscal year, neither the governor’s original plan nor the budget passed by the General Assembly is law. Cullerton called on the governor and members of his party to acknowledge that both plans are dead and that it’s time to reset and move toward a real resolution.

“The budget process traditionally starts with the governor submitting a balanced plan that allows the legislature to review and respond appropriately – something that Governor Rauner never did,” President Cullerton said. “He now has an opportunity to restart negotiations by submitting a new plan to the General Assembly. That balanced plan should reflect the budgetary lessons we’ve learned the past few months.”

Rauner’s budget balancing task may be simpler this time around given the fact that $23.5 billion of state spending is already in motion. That leaves $15 billion in anticipated costs left to budget. That responsibility, however, is balanced against revenue projections that give the governor only $10 billion to spend.

President Cullerton encouraged the governor to focus on priorities outlined by credit rating agencies rather than a corporate class agenda that doesn’t address the current budget crisis and hurts the middle class. Credit rating agencies have made it clear that we must address our structural deficit, pass constitutional pension reform and lower the backlog of bills to change Illinois’ status as the state with the lowest credit ratings in the country.

“The governor has spent all of his time in office prioritizing an agenda that will satisfy the corporate class. While some of those ideas are worthy of debate, he has been unable to provide one shred of evidence that his agenda adds one cent to the ledger for our budget crisis in the short term or elevates our credit rankings in the long term,” Cullerton said.

President Cullerton remains hopeful that the governor will accept this challenge and that a budget resolution can be reached before Aug. 4, when the Senate is scheduled to return to Springfield.

SPRINGFIELD – Senate President John J. Cullerton released the following statement regarding the retirement of Auditor General Bill Holland.

“Bill Holland has dedicated his life's work to improving public policy outcomes and government services for the people of the state of Illinois. His knowledge, expertise and eye for excellence have been invaluable to all of those who have had the pleasure of working and serving with him. His contributions will not be forgotten. I wish Bill the best of luck in future endeavors.”

Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton sat down with Chicago Tonight’s Carol Marin to explains his optimism that there will be a budget deal and his hope that the ugly politics of campaign season can be set aside now that the elections are over and people need to govern.

View the full article at Chicago Tonight - Cullerton on Budget Showdown

(SPRINGFIELD) – The following are the prepared remarks presented by Senate President John J. Cullerton as he opened his annual press availability on the final day of the Spring session:

“When I became Senate President 6 years ago, my top priority was ending the political rancor that had paralyzed this state.  After years of stalemates and political fights, I was committed to changing the tone in Springfield.

It was a goal that I was able to largely accomplish thanks to Republican Leader Christine Radogno. As many of you recall, she and I were elected to the leadership posts in large part because of our personal commitment to working together.

No, it hasn’t always been easy, but we have tackled huge issues and, up until this session, we’d almost always done it together.

Capital bill. McCormick Place reforms. Education reform. Marriage equality. Immigrant drivers licenses. Medicaid reforms. Workers Compensation reforms.

Nothing has been more important to me than working together in a civil, respective manner.

I make it a point to go to dinner over the course of the session with every Republican member. And every year I ask the entire senate, including the Republican caucus to a bipartisan dinner.

I do it because we need to work together. I do it because I respect the Republican members. I do it because we are all elected to come here and solve problems.

Today, I’m disappointed.

The road we started down together six years ago I fear has been abandoned by many Republicans, lured away by the siren song of Bruce Rauner’s campaign cash.

And once again we find ourselves trying to work with a governor who continues to run campaigns rather than run the state that elected him. Rather than roll up his sleeves and work on solutions, he dictates demands and threatens those who defy him.

As you know, a few days ago I attended an end of session leaders meeting.

When I emerged from that meeting I restated my commitment to work with the governor on compromises that will move this state forward. Because I am committed to compromise.

But there was something that I left out of my comments – and that is my disappointment in the direction that this state is about to take under Governor Rauner’s leadership.

The governor made it clear that in the next few days, he will launch a multimillion dollar negative ad campaign designed to demonize those who are standing up for the middle class.

Nothing could be more damaging to the prospects of compromise than deploying Washington style campaign tactics rather than working on bipartisan solutions for this state.”