House District 46 candidates respond to Rauner's budget address
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner gave his fiscal year 2017 budget address Wednesday at the State Capitol.
The Republican governor began his address by highlighting the impact the budget stalemate has had on the state and reiterating what he has said in the past – a tax hike will not solve Illinois’ budget woes.
“This year cannot be a rerun of last year,” Rauner said.
The state is currently operating without a budget since Rauner vetoed a spending plan that was sent to him by the Democrat-controlled legislature in July, forcing a long list of painful cuts to many services across the state.
In his address, Rauner encouraged lawmakers to work together to make “real reform” that will create jobs and savings for taxpayers. The governor also told legislators to stop sending spending plans that will be vetoed, stating that more jobs will translate to more people working and, ultimately, more people people paying taxes.
Rauner also said he is working on behalf of people who see workers in surrounding states paying less taxes and earning better pay than Illinoisans.
State Rep. Deborah Conroy (D-Villa Park), responding to the governor’s address, said the reality that the state has been operating without a budget for more than seven months is disheartening.
“In these unprecedented times where our most vulnerable are suffering, we need to focus on passing a budget above all else,” Conroy said.
Conroy said she has been championing bipartisanship and has been able to successfully pass legislation in her district.
“We have to move past the harsh rhetoric that is unproductive and the partisan agendas that are unrelated to achieving a balanced budget,” Conroy said.
Conroy said she is ready to work with parties on both sides of the aisle, along with the governor, to reach a balanced approach to passing a state budget that is long overdue.
“Achieving the goals of protecting middle-class families and enacting a budget that provides the best for our communities needs to be the focus,” Conroy said.
Heidi Holan, a Republican candidate running against Conroy, said she approved of the governor’s address.
“I did listen to it; I thought it was wonderful,” Holan said. “I thought what he laid out was a very good defense, a very well-reasoned defense, of why Illinois, after two decades without a balanced budget, must implement structural reforms to change the long-term trajectory of our economy.”
Holan said she believes Rauner explained the danger of a quick fix in the short term and addressed the root cause of the state’s debacle.
“He mentioned many of the structural reforms that he has presented to the General Assembly in his turnaround agenda,” Holan said. “And he offered his hand to continue to discuss and have a meeting of the minds on these reforms because that is the only thing that is going to reduce our government expenses and make our state more business-friendly, because the goal is to have job growth and savings for taxpayers.”