With the state facing a pension crisis, a difficult-to-balance budget and a divided government, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner tried to offer some reassurance to his constituents: "I know what I was sent here to do."
The governor writes:
I'm the new guy in Springfield. I'm proud of that.
Although being new means I'm not as familiar with how things historically have been done in state government, it keeps me idealistic and hopeful. I'm not jaded or cynical about what we can accomplish to make Illinois great again.
But I've grown concerned by what I've seen in the legislature during the past few weeks. We're approaching the end of the regular legislative session with no apparent long-term solution to the state's budget, pension and economic mess.
It's time to focus on what's really going on and what we must change now. Illinois needs a turnaround. The public understands that, but it appears many state elected officials do not.
We have the worst pension crisis and the second-highest property taxes in America. After enacting the largest tax hike in Illinois history, we still have more than $6 billion in unpaid bills. We've lost more than 300,000 manufacturing jobs in the past 15 years.
Merely raising taxes will kick the can, not solve the problem. We need to shake up the old ways of running state government. We must end the special-interest deals that drive up costs inside government and wreck current and future budgets. We must reform anti-growth policies that make Illinois unable to compete with other states for good-paying jobs.
We must deliver true pension reform that protects what's been earned, but in the future provides state workers with benefits that are more in line with the taxpayers who pay for them. We should not allow voting districts to be drawn just to protect incumbents.
And we must make term limits a reality, helping to ensure elected office is about public service, not personal gain.
Read the rest of Rauner's thoughts at Reboot Illinois.
Some of Rauner's fellow Republicans are not happy with the way the divided government is turning out. Republican state House of Representatives members gathered at a press conference May 20 to express their displeasure at what they see as Democratic partisan politicking and a refusal to cooperate. Watch them explain their grievances with Speaker Michael Madigan and other Democrats at Reboot Illinois.