Things were going fairly smoothly for Gov. Bruce Rauner as he met with lawmakers to sell his budget reforms. But things went off the rails when Rauner hosted the Senate Black Caucus, writes Rich Miller of Capitol Fax.
Miller explains where it all went wrong:
Things started out well enough, but things turned south in a hurry when Rauner said he couldn't accept the Senate super-majority party's stand-alone proposal to patch about $600 million of the current fiscal year's $1.6 billion budget deficit with transfers from special state funds. He wanted, he said, an "all or nothing" solution.
Rauner repeatedly said he wouldn't raise taxes to solve this year's budget problems and therefore absolutely needed to make big cuts. Legislators should "trust me," Rauner said. "We don't know you," was their reply.
And since his proposed budget for next fiscal year, which begins July 1st, demands huge cuts to major social programs, why should they trust him to not go after those same cherished programs in this year's budget if they give him the carte blanche he is demanding to make whatever reductions he desires?
The governor in turn warned the legislators that up until now he's been blaming former Gov. Pat Quinn for this mess, but if they didn't give him what he wanted he'd start blaming the General Assembly. Threats don't often work too well with that caucus, to say the least.
Read the rest of Miller's analysis of the meeting between the governor and the legislators at Reboot Illinois.
Rauner will have to get legislators on board with his budget plans if he hopes to seem them implemented, especially legislative leaders House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton. They hold all the pieces to a Rauner budget puzzle, as portrayed in this cartoon from Scott Stantis. See the rest of the cartoon at Reboot Illinois.