Here’s How the New Budget Fails Illinois

The following is an excerpt of an op-ed written by Governor Bruce Rauner that was published in this week’s edition of Crain’s Chicago Business:

More than two years have passed since the citizens of Illinois sent me to Springfield to challenge the old way of doing business. We knew then that the state was irresponsibly shortchanging our children’s future by our political leaders’ unwillingness to live within our means. It was time to hold elected officials of both parties accountable for the culture of corruption and cronyism that has created economic stagnation and a fiscal crisis. It was time to enact reforms that can unleash the potential of our economy and ensure that Illinois is a state where our children and grandchildren can thrive.

Over the past two years, we’ve worked on a bipartisan basis to fix Illinois. […]

Over the past two years we’ve also been seeking common ground on the fiscal and structural changes necessary to restore our state’s fiscal health. This challenge is not just about one year’s budget; it is about reforming our state so that our economy grows faster than our government spending. Structural reforms that encourage job growth, provide property tax relief and make government more efficient are essential to our long-term fiscal health.

Yet instead of passing a budget with reforms that would move Illinois forward, the legislature collapsed under the pressure of entrenched interests and passed a 32 percent income tax hike. […]

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This is not the future that we imagined for Illinois. This is not who we are. We are not people who see problems and do nothing. We are not people who turn away from each other.

We cannot give up on an Illinois where all children receive an excellent education regardless of their ZIP code; an Illinois that cares for those in need; an Illinois that promotes an open economy where immigrants and entrepreneurs can realize their dreams; an Illinois where anyone who works hard can find rising wages and expanding opportunities; an Illinois where people want to lay down roots and raise families.

Illinois is blessed with every natural resource—except good government. Once we begin to reform, we can turn our Illinois around and provide the future our children deserve.

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