February 25, 2015
By Jim Nowlan
In his maiden speech on state finance this past Wednesday [Feb. 18], GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner changed the dynamic of Illinois budgeting from an “incremental” process to that akin to “zero base budgeting,” which goes all the way back to former president Jimmy Carter’s days as governor of Georgia in the early 1970s.
The above sounds like academic-speak, so please let me explain.
Rauner proposed a budget that is balanced, at least in theory, without the necessity of nudging the recently reduced state income tax back up a bit, as many Democrats including Speaker of the House Mike Madigan feel is necessary.
The businessman governor proposed dramatic, some would say draconian, cuts not only in pensions, health care for state employees and higher education, but also for children who are wards of the state, kids with developmental disabilities, and the mentally ill.
This will force interest groups and advocates for all these spending initiatives to come to the legislature to make their cases for why the programs must be sustained at higher levels than Rauner wants. Read More