CHRONICLE: Budget watchdog opposes Rauner’s budget for fourth year in a row

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For the fourth year in a row, the nonpartisan budget watchdog, The Civic Federation, has panned Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget. Federation President Laurence Msall said that Rauner’s proposal “does not accomplish” a plan for long-term fiscal stability.

From 2015 – 2017, Rauner went longer than any Governor of any state without passing a budget, ballooning the state’s debt to $16 billion. Lawmakers finally overrode Rauner’s veto of a budget package that would fund critical priorities as well as allow the state to start paying down those bills.

“The sobering note is really the amount of unpaid bills that the state is waking up with,” said Msall, after legislators finally passed the budget over Rauner’s opposition. Since then, the amount due in unpaid bills has dropped to $8.8 million.

The Federation’s report said Rauner’s FY 2019 budget “is precariously balanced and its modest surplus relies on aggressive assumptions. Additionally, the proposal does little to address Illinois’ massive backlog of bills.”

The Federation was also concerned Rauner will once again force an impasse to push his radical conservative agenda. “Illinois residents were able to breathe a short sigh of relief following the end of the unprecedented impasse,” Msall said. “Unfortunately, the possibility of renewed political stalemate hangs over Springfield…Another impasse could squander recent progress.”

This is the fourth year in a row that the Civic Federation has opposed Rauner’s budgets. In fact, Rauner has also failed to even propose a balanced budget.

In May 2015, the nonpartisan fiscal watching, the Civic Federation, released a scathing report saying that Rauner’s FY 16 budget did not add up and would leave the state in worse shape. In May 2016, a Civic Federation report found Rauner’s FY 2017 budget was unbalanced by $3.5 billion. In May 2017, the Civic Federation announced it “cannot support” Rauner’s budget for FY 2018 “because it has an operating deficit of at least $4.6 billion and does not address Illinois’ massive backlog of bills.”

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