Governor Rauner - Illinois Tax And Labor Law Are Factors In Poor Economic Performance

·        State of the State address takes aim at laws that swell taxes, government spending.  Prevailing wage law, project labor agreements, and unfunded mandates are elements of the “big picture” of Illinois public-sector spending.  Gov. Rauner’s agenda, presented to the General Assembly in his State of the
State address on Wednesday, February 4, called for comprehensive reforms to the “iron triangle” of public-sector career executives, government labor unions, and elected officials who are friendly to both groups.  The Chicago Tribune covered the story.

Governor Rauner looked repeatedly at Illinois tax and labor law as a factor in the Prairie State’s poor economic performance.  States that neighbor Illinois, led by Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, have enacted reforms to their states’ tax laws and labor laws.  Reforms enacted in Indiana and Michigan include offering a choice to workers on whether or not to join unions at their workplaces.  Rauner pointed out the comprehensively better economic performance enjoyed by these states, and presented an example of a typical firm – Modern Forge, formerly of Blue Island – that has joined many of its fellow small businesses in moving to Indiana.  “We must avoid slipping further behind,” he warned, calling for dramatic changes in the laws of Illinois to match its neighbors. 

The governor called for additional support for Illinois elementary, secondary, and higher education.  He pledged to reform the education bureaucracy and to prioritize early education programs, elementary and secondary education in geographically challenged areas of the State, and to return Illinois support to historic levels for credential-oriented programs within community colleges.  Rauner’s pledge included fighting to lift the current cap on Illinois charter schools.

Rauner called for major changes in the face of elected government in Springfield.  He strongly requested approval by the General Assembly, for submission to the people of Illinois, of constitutional amendments to limit the terms of Illinois elected officials and merge the offices of Illinois comptroller and treasurer.

Rauner’s office has posted a video of his speech online and welcomes social-media discussion of the points made in it using the hashtag #ILTurnaround.