It was telling that the biggest impact from the Governor’s speech came not from his presentation of next year’s budget, but from the portions of the speech where he weighed in on the embattled Senate negotiations over the past year.
The Governor has not offered his opinion publicly on the negotiations until now, and choosing to do so now could jump start negotiations that had stalled in recent days. So what did he say, and what is the status of the proposed compromise?
Governor Rauner began by describing how unfair it would be to pass a permanent income tax increase without a permanent freeze on local property taxes. While the Grand Bargain does currently have a two year property tax freeze, a permanent ban is not part of the compromise. At least not yet.
He went on to describe the unfairness of raising the tax on food and medicine. Though he did not specifically publicly denounce the proposed service tax we wrote about last week.
He did, however, call for a hard cap on spending to force government to live within its means, but didn’t give more guidance on exactly what proposals would meet that criteria. He also expressed his support for workers’ compensation reform, though he was similarly vague on exactly what reform proposals would be sufficient for his needs.
You’ll note that the Senate took a vote on the pension reform bill and failed to pass it even by simple majority. But with a motion to reconsider the bill the Grand Bargain is still technically alive. Everyday Illinois goes without a budget, we go $11 million further into debt.