Kennedy: Rauner Holds budget hostage
“We want to pass reform, not pay a ransom.”
Chris Kennedy, Democratic candidate for governor, faulted Governor Rauner’s budget address for failing to offer solutions to Illinois’ budget crisis. “He needs to stop holding us hostage. We want to pass reform, not pay a ransom,” said Kennedy.
“Instead of Governor Rauner’s agenda being a prerequisite to negotiating a budget, having a budget should be the first step toward negotiating pro-growth reforms. Governor Rauner used the word ‘balance’ 28 times in his prepared remarks, yet failed to offer a balanced budget. He has imperiled us, and turned a budget crisis into an economic catastrophe for Illinois families.
“The chaos that Governor Rauner has inflicted upon Illinois is unprecedented, and make no mistake: people are suffering. Illinois lost 16,700 jobs in December, on top of the 4,700 jobs in November. Governor Rauner’s words emphasize the necessity of job growth for Illinois, but his actions do nothing to promote this,” Kennedy said.
“We see people leaving Illinois for opportunities in other states; we have one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, and more children, seniors, and persons with disabilities are going without the services and support they need to live with dignity and opportunity. Every day without a budget, Illinois is saddled with more unpaid bills, more debt, and more students who cannot afford college or who are leaving Illinois to attend school in other states. Not one item from his personal political agenda – in fact, not all items together – are more important than the stability and predictability that comes from a budget.”
Kennedy added, “As governor, I would make sure to live up to the constitutional responsibility to reach a balanced budget agreement. But that would just be the beginning. We would start making the investments in our infrastructure that are critical for fostering economic growth, reforming the state’s grossly unfair approach to school funding so every community in Illinois can have superior schools for our children. It’s imperative we stop the assault on public education and support our teachers as they work to close the achievement gap in our schools. Innovative and effective approaches need to be deployed to reduce the crime and violence that plague communities across our state. We need to get it together. We have to do better, and I know we can.”