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The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights rallied against Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget cuts at the Thompson Center on April 8. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle spoke at the rally.
When they elected Bruce Rauner governor last year, Illinois voters thought they were getting a straight-talking businessman who would straighten out the state’s finances.
On the evidence of his first three months in office, what they got was an ideologue who would sacrifice fiscal realism on the altar of his radical agenda of shrinking government and gutting unions.
Straight-talking? He’s certainly outspoken when attacking unions and his political opponents. But when it comes to budget matters, not so much.
Start with the $1.6 billion gap in the 2015 budget that Rauner says he “inherited.” In fact, it was essentially his call to let the mid-year rollback of the state’s income tax proceed. He had a major hand in creating the immediate crisis. Now he hides behind it.
When it came time to fill that gap, it turned out that Rauner didn’t believe his own campaign rhetoric about excessive spending. As Ralph Martire of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability points out, he turned to revenue — $1.3 billion in sweeps of special funds — and even said he wanted more sweeps and fewer cuts.