State of the State Coming Up

State of the State address preparations
· Governor’s message: Turnaround necessary. Preparations continue for the State of the State address to be delivered by Governor Bruce Rauner to the General Assembly on Wednesday, February 4. The Governor and his executive staff have published an advocacy platform, “The Illinois Turnaround,” that sets forth the broad goals he will be looking for in State policymaking. Gov. Rauner has fleshed out the points made in this package in a series of speeches delivered in key Illinois cities. For example, the governor spoke in Champaign on Thursday, January 29.

Posted directly to the Internet for readers of crowdsourced news platform Buzzfeed on Thursday, the “Illinois Turnaround” platform aims to “return Illinois to a place people want to live, work, invest, and flourish.” Quoting data from the U.S. Census Bureau showing major net out-migration from Illinois, the platform calls for making significant improvements to Illinois’ lawsuit climate, job-creation environment, property taxes, and the burdens of unfunded mandates on businesses and local governments.

“The Illinois Turnaround” points out that neighboring states, such as Indiana and Wisconsin, have not experienced comparable 10-year patterns of net job loss and outmigration. These are states that, unlike Illinois, have maintained or re-created an enterprise-oriented growth climate. They have successfully pushed to re-create themselves as homes for job creation and young families.

Governor Rauner and his executive staff are signaling that they are looking for choke points in the Illinois economy in which specific interest groups are extracting costs from productive citizens and not providing adequate recompense. Charts published in “The Illinois Turnaround” make clear that the Governor is looking for major improvements in public-sector productivity. The themes set forth in “The Illinois Turnaround” are likely to play a role in the points made in next week’s Springfield address.  

State departments
· Five department heads appointed.
The turnaround-oriented governor announced his appointment of five new heads of State departments on Friday, January 23. The departments are Central Management Services, Financial and Professional Regulation, Human Rights, Labor, and State Police. Interim directors will remain in their day-to-day supervisory positions pending confirmation of these new appointments by the Illinois Senate.

The new head of the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (DFPR), lawyer Bryan Schneider, is a veteran of Illinois House Republican staff service. After serving as the House Republicans’ general counsel, Schneider moved to the private sector as an executive-level practitioner for Deerfield-based Walgreens. Schneider has also served as Chairman of the State Board of Elections. Dually trained to practice law and accountancy, Schneider will head a key agency that oversees the professional licensing of qualified Illinois professionals.