Democratic Leader Pushes Back On Rauner Ideas


The top Democrat in Illinois’ state senate is preparing for a divide between his chamber and the new Republican governor.

Senate President John Cullerton will run the senate in Springfield this year with a supermajority of Democrats.

He’s critical of Gov. Bruce Rauner for allowing the income tax rate to drop more than one percentage point.

"When our income tax rate goes from 5 percent down to 3.75, probably the biggest winner in the state was Bruce Rauner himself in his own taxes going down," Cullerton said.

Cullerton is referring to Rauner’s personal wealth; The governor reported that he made 60 million dollars in 2013.

Cullerton says lower taxes means he’s waiting to see where Rauner proposes billions of dollars in cuts to balance the budget.

Rauner has said he wants to create new taxes, particularly on services like storage units and attorney’s fees.

Cullerton says the Senate has supported that idea in the past - but he doesn’t want to see poor people pay more for everyday services, like an oil change.

Cullerton is also pushing back on one of Rauner's rhetoric critical of unions.

The governor says he wants to ban unions from giving campaign contributions to politicians. But Cullerton says he won’t support policies that try to put unions out of business.

"It’s not bribery for union people to organize, to donate money to campaign contributors," Cullerton said. "They can do that and it’s a democracy. Just like Bruce Rauner can raise $20 million dollars from two people in one day."

Rauner has also proposed local governments should pass so-called right to work laws.

Story source: Illinois Public Radio