News Local/State

No Meeting Of Budget Aides Adds To Confusion Over Governor’s Budget Plan

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. Wikimedia Commons

The Illinois House is set to return to Springfield this week. Policymakers are still puzzling through last week's budget proposal by Governor Bruce Rauner. That’s partly because the Rauner administration made a significant break with tradition.

The immediate reaction to the governor’s proposal included confusion. Typically, the top budget aides to the governor meet with their counterparts in the legislature before the big speech. But not the Rauner administration.

State Rep. Greg Harris, a Democrat from Chicago, says this is “unprecedented territory.”

“This is the way it has been done for 198 years of the 200 years of our state’s history,” said Harris. “Only in the last two years has it ended up this way.”

This matters because if you were listening to Rauner's budget speech, you heard the governor assert his proposal was balanced. But now that the documents are publicly available, it’s clear there’s a $4.5 to $7 billion deficit.

The governor’s budget plan also includes cuts the governor did not mention in his budget address, such as his proposal to eliminate programs dealing with homelessness, addiction, epilepsy and autism.

A Rauner spokeswoman did not respond to an inquiry about why the administration declined to brief legislators on the details of Rauner's budget proposal.