President Cullerton says it time to hit the reset button and move toward a resolution

CHICAGO – Senate President John J. Cullerton today called on Gov. Bruce Rauner to reset the budget process by submitting a new balanced budget plan that can end the state’s immediate fiscal crisis.

Three weeks into the new fiscal year, neither the governor’s original plan nor the budget passed by the General Assembly is law. Cullerton called on the governor and members of his party to acknowledge that both plans are dead and that it’s time to reset and move toward a real resolution.

“The budget process traditionally starts with the governor submitting a balanced plan that allows the legislature to review and respond appropriately – something that Governor Rauner never did,” President Cullerton said. “He now has an opportunity to restart negotiations by submitting a new plan to the General Assembly. That balanced plan should reflect the budgetary lessons we’ve learned the past few months.”

Rauner’s budget balancing task may be simpler this time around given the fact that $23.5 billion of state spending is already in motion. That leaves $15 billion in anticipated costs left to budget. That responsibility, however, is balanced against revenue projections that give the governor only $10 billion to spend.

President Cullerton encouraged the governor to focus on priorities outlined by credit rating agencies rather than a corporate class agenda that doesn’t address the current budget crisis and hurts the middle class. Credit rating agencies have made it clear that we must address our structural deficit, pass constitutional pension reform and lower the backlog of bills to change Illinois’ status as the state with the lowest credit ratings in the country.

“The governor has spent all of his time in office prioritizing an agenda that will satisfy the corporate class. While some of those ideas are worthy of debate, he has been unable to provide one shred of evidence that his agenda adds one cent to the ledger for our budget crisis in the short term or elevates our credit rankings in the long term,” Cullerton said.

President Cullerton remains hopeful that the governor will accept this challenge and that a budget resolution can be reached before Aug. 4, when the Senate is scheduled to return to Springfield.