CHRONICLE: The new Rauner agenda: same as the old, failed Rauner agenda

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In a meeting with legislative leaders this week, Governor Bruce Rauner proposed what “is largely a repeat of the wish list he’s been pushing for several years,” according to a report by the Chicago Tribune.

In his 2014 campaign, Rauner’s pitch to voters included big ideas, like pension reform, right-to-work union-busting policies, term limits, and smaller items, like reforming the state’s gas tax, allowing municipalities to declare bankruptcy, and reforming the state’s guidelines for lawsuits.

However, Rauner’s agenda was met unprecedented resistance, with protests erupting across the state and in the halls of the General Assembly. In particular, Rauner’s so-called right to work legislation was a non-starter and received zero votes in the State House.

Rauner pushed the state to the brink, holding the budget hostage in order to pass non-budgetary reforms. During the more than two-year impasse, the backlog of unpaid bills grew to more than $15 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.

Not one of Rauner’s major agenda items were signed into law.

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