CHRONICLE: Former Republican Governor Edgar: Rauner is “the one responsible” for budget crisis

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Former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar has been critical of Rauner’s financial management, in particular his more than two-year budget crisis.

“The last 2½ years have been a disaster without a budget and all the problems it caused,” Edgar said. “I think most people would like to see government function, and he’s the governor, so he’s kind of the one responsible.”

Rauner pushed the state to the brink, holding the budget hostage in order to pass non-budgetary reforms. Rauner’s agenda met unprecedented resistance, with protests erupting across the state and in the halls of the General Assembly.

Edgar has previously been critical of the Governor. In August, he said, “Sometimes I think he has his point of view and that’s it. You don’t get that, especially when you have the legislature controlled by the other party. There’s got to be some give and take.”

Earlier, Edgar declared the state was “in the worst condition I can ever remember,” after going two years without a budget under Governor Rauner’s leadership. “Even during the Blagojevich years it wasn’t this bad,” he continued.

During the more than two-year impasse, the backlog of unpaid bills grew to more than $16 billion. In 2015, when Governor Rauner first took office, the state’s unpaid bill backlog was about $6 billion.

In July, lawmakers passed a state budget without the involvement of the Governor. The bipartisan coalition ultimately decided the Governor’s agenda – which would have pushed the state into a third consecutive year without a budget – would do irreparable damage to the state’s finances and institutions.

None of Rauner’s major agenda items were signed into law.

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