Rauner roams state, ripping Dems and demanding reform
Gov. Bruce Rauner is preaching fiscal conservatism and tax reform during a two-day tour of the state that began Tuesday.
Although Rauner’s campaign fund is paying for the statewide meet and greet, the governor says it is not part of his re-election campaign, according to the Chicago Tribune. During an interview with "The Morning Answer" radio show with hosts Dan Proft and Amy Jacobson on Tuesday, Rauner talked about the difficulties he has faced governing a state run by Democrats.
Proft is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
Rauner said radical changes are needed within the Illinois political system. He pointed to his Democratic rival, House Speaker Michael Madigan, as a main cause for the crippled Illinois economy.
“Speaker Madigan has been in power since 1971, and he’s overseen massive deficit spending, massive job losses, massive tax hikes, and massive amounts of cronyism and corruption,” Rauner said.
The 2018 gubernatorial campaign is already underway, with Rauner fending off criticism for the state's growing debt and uncertainty in the social services sector, as well as a historic budget impasse, according to the Tribune.
Despite the pushback, Rauner said he has been able to accomplish many of his goals without the help of Democrats. He’s cut $800 million out of operating costs in the state budget and transformed Medicare by cutting $220 million in fraud and more.
“Dramatically different union contracts with people who work inside state government, no salary increases for four years, and bonuses based upon taxpayer savings,” Rauner said, identifying what he argued are just some of his accomplishments.
Rauner said Madigan is making it difficult to push for more changes.
“They’ve blocked us on term limits; they’ve blocked us on the $60 billion in spending cuts I proposed; they’ve blocked us on pension reform," he said. "We need to change the system, and that means some of the legislators need to change, too."
While many voters might say Rauner is the culprit, he argued that Madigan and the Democrats are to blame for the state's deficit and funding issues.
“His empire inside government and the legislators that are loyal to him instead of loyal to their constituents: That’s the core problem,” Rauner said.
In interviews to the press and visits to businesses and communities throughout the state, Rauner reminded people of missed business opportunities in the past 17 years.
“We’ve lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs, while all the five states around us have added over 100,000 manufacturing jobs,” he said.
Rauner said Illinois has a hostile business environment that has to change.
“The reality is the system is broken, and I have volunteered to radically change the system," he said. "I’ll never give up, and I’ll never waver."