Gov. Rauner Lays Out Turnaround Budget Blue Print

The budget for fiscal year 2016 (FY16) presented by Governor Bruce Rauner to the Illinois General Assembly on Wednesday, February 18 contains many challenges to traditional spending patterns in Springfield. Serious cuts are imposed on a wide variety of expenditures, especially in areas covered by GRF spending ($31.5 billion). Rauner says Illinois taxation and spending has, for too long, been on autopilot and that he was elected to pull the State’s government out of a death spiral.

“Even after we solve this fiscal year’s crisis, we will still be left with a budget hole of $6.2 billion for the coming fiscal year,” the newly-elected Governor told lawmakers. “Waste and inefficiency are rampant in our current system,” he reported. “To be compassionate, we must be competitive.”

The State’s budgetary challenges are no secret, but under Gov. Rauner, these challenges are actually being acknowledged. For the first time in a decade, the Governor and General Assembly are starting the budgetary process grounded by the reality of matching revenues with expenditures while paying our required obligations. Gov. Rauner has set a revenue estimate of $32 billion with a clear directive to make that number work.

The Governor’s introduced FY16 budget is a sobering look, but one that is built on several core priorities: public safety, education and paying our bills. The General Assembly is beginning to review this budget and its impact on Illinoisans and will soon be making recommendations as to our shared priorities. There are hard times to come, but in the end, the goal of turning around Illinois must be accomplished.