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Civic Federation, Madigan Have Reservations About Rauner's Budget

05/08/2015 01:43 pm ET | Updated May 08, 2016

A $2.2 billion pension savings that's unlikely ever to happen and an overly hopeful savings on state employee insurance payments are two of the major flaws in Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposal for the 2016 state budget, says the Civic Federation, the state's leading fiscal watchdog.

The Civic Federation's new report gives Rauner high marks for avoiding borrowing and submitting his first budget as governor on time. But it blasts Rauner's budget plan as a product of excessive optimism on some projected savings and outright fantasy in its assumption of $2.2 billion in immediate savings from a new pension reform plan.

"By issuing his budget on-time and without the use of borrowing, Governor Rauner has appropriately identified the size and pressing nature of the $6.2 billion shortfall in next year's budget," said Civic Federation President Laurence Msall. "However, while the Governor's recommendations may close the budget gap on paper, the Civic Federation cannot support spending reductions that are either unrealistic or inconsistent with reasonable long-term financial goals for the State."

Rauner currently is negotiating a new labor contract with AFSCME Council 31, the state's largest employee union, and his budget contains $655 million in savings that he plans to wring from the negotiations. While Rauner has been unrelenting in his anti-union rhetoric, the Civic Federation is highly skeptical that he'll manage such a hard bargain with AFSCME.

"Both the magnitude of the projected savings and the short time frame for reaching agreement with the State's largest union suggest that the budgeted numbers are unlikely to be realized," the report says.

Read the rest at Reboot Illinois.

Another person who is not happy with Rauner's budget plans include House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Mark Fitton of the Illinois News Network explains:

In baseball, it's called a message pitch.

If the batter gets cocky and crowds the plate, the pitcher sends one high and tight to remind everyone there's more than one party trying to establish advantage and control.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, appeared to throw just such a message -- and then some -- at Gov. Bruce Rauner and the GOP Wednesday.

Personally sponsoring an amendment to an existing bill, the speaker proposed a human services budget for fiscal year 2016 that was deeply cut and nearly exactly what Rauner has proposed. The proposed budget included Medicaid.

By Madigan's own description, the budget he put up Wednesday was $1.2 billion lighter in general fund spending and $1.9 billion lighter in spending from all other revenues.

That left House Republicans in a difficult spot.

Read the rest at Reboot Illinois.

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