Governor's Budget Proposal Leaves Ill. Legislators Scratching Their Heads

Feb 20, 2017

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.”

Credit Seth Perlman / AP Photo

“This is the way it has been done for 198 years of the 200 years of our state’s history. 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.

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.

Listeners can take a crack at decoding Rauner's spending plan themselves. All 571 pages are on the web at budget.illinois.gov.