Rauner calls on General Assembly to vote on term limits in fall session
Gov. Bruce Rauner recently called on the Illinois General Assembly to vote on a term-limits constitutional amendment when members return for the fall session.
“It’s certainly true that getting term limits won’t fix every problem we face – we’ve still got to wipe out corruption, conflicts of interest, and repair our broken pension system. We’ve got to balance our budget without balancing it on the backs of our most needy. We’ve got to get our property taxes moving down, not up. All of this will help create the environment we need to attract good jobs back to Illinois, and that’s really what it’s got to be about,” Rauner said during a press conference last week.
The governor reiterated his efforts to reform the Illinois political system following a Cook County judge's ruling July 20 against putting a popular measure on the ballot that would create independently drawn legislative maps. Soon afterward, the Illinois Supreme Court granted a motion for a direct appeal of the Cook County Circuit Court ruling on the constitutionality of the proposed citizen-initiated amendment on redistricting, known as the Independent Map Amendment.
“Term limits and fair maps would give the people of Illinois more control over our broken political system," Rauner said. "A lower court threw out this year’s fair-maps proposal that has the support of nearly 600,000 Illinois citizens and support from both Democrats and Republicans. We cannot let this stand,” Rauner said.
The governor said redistricting is critically needed in the state so that voters can choose their elected officials through an independently drawn map that ensures competitive elections.
“New faces need to know they have an even chance at winning in a truly democratic election,” Rauner said.
But if you look at the numbers this year, a level playing field isn’t what you’ll see. For instance, over 88 percent of the candidates for the State Assembly faced no opposition in their primary, Rauner said.
“Even more amazing, two-thirds have no opposition in the general election," Rauner said. "That’s not democracy; that’s a rigged system. The system has given so many advantages to incumbents in the legislature that it’s very hard to vote them out, even if they aren’t doing a good job. That’s just wrong. We can change that; we must change that,” Rauner said.
The only way to overcome entrenched political power is for the people of Illinois to keep fighting for term limits, Rauner said.
“Term limits is an issue I believe in deeply and so do the people of Illinois," Rauner said. "Term limits is supported by 80 percent of the people I talk to. It seems like 80 percent of the politicians are opposed. Our people want term limits now more than ever, and that’s why I’m so committed to continue the fight to make it happen."
In fact, as he’s traveled the state, Rauner said he’s learned the most by talking to people, not politicians.
“People want us to fix the broken system that has put our state deep in the hole, but in Springfield, too many career politicians hold power and have been too happy to kick the can down the road and do nothing about our biggest problems,” Rauner said.
Rauner said that’s how the state has ended up with a $100 billion unfunded pension liability, adding that even with the state’s massive tax bills, the government spends $1.30 for every dollar it takes in.
“It simply defies common sense," Rauner said. "The people I talk to every day balance their budgets, and they expect us to balance the state’s. To do that, we need new people with their new ideas in Springfield,” Rauner said.
Rauner said state legislators should return to being more focused on public service, rather than personal gain and a government pension.
“People in business are successful by making things happen, but in politics, career politicians don’t have to make anything happen to get re-elected. If they play their cards right, they’ve got a lifetime job. We’ve got politicians in Springfield who’ve been there 20, 30, 40 years – and look what’s happened to our state in that time. It’s time for change,” Rauner said.
The General Assembly’s fall veto session begins Nov. 15, the week after the general election.