Rauner Bares All About Shaking Up The State Agenda

By Jim Bochnowski in News on Apr 8, 2015 9:20PM

While Mayor Emanuel was soaking up all the attention yesterday, Governor Bruce Rauner was busy quietly making his own waves in the press. Fresh off his controversial budget proposal and a looming May 31 budget deadline, Rauner was seeking to formally elucidate his plans for the state during his term, granting a wide ranging interview with the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board.

During the interview, he repeatedly stressed that he was prepared for a combative legislative sessions. "Crisis creates opportunity," said Rauner. "Crisis creates leverage to change … and we've got to use that leverage of the crisis to force structural change." The Governor also said Republican legislators would be forced to take a number of tough votes in the upcoming session in the name of crafting an acceptable budget compromise.

Rauner took the opportunity to swing at his political opponents, claiming that Illinois needed to transform into a state that supports the goals of large businesses instead of serving the interests of unions. Among his specific proposals, Rauner proposed changes to collective bargaining requirements, modifying public employee pensions, preventing property tax hikes without voter approval and imposing term limits on the General Assembly.

The governor repeatedly railed against the practice of unions donating to campaigns, stressing but without giving specific details, that he would change the law to prevent that practice. "Read it," Rauner told the Tribune. "Change the law … that's what our proposal is." He firmly averred several times that his proposed changes would create a pro-business atmosphere, one that would allow Illinois to "rip the guts out" of Indiana, economically.

He also stopped by the Daily Herald to make the case for ending the direct election of Supreme Court justices, saying that he doesn't "...trust the Supreme Court to be rational in their decisions. I think they're activist judges who want to be legislators." While worrying about the effects that campaign donations have on the issue of parity, Rauner noticeably seemed mostly concerned with the upcoming Supreme Court decision on a law that substantially cut benefits to public employees and retirees.

As these comments are likely not to endear Gov. Rauner to his substantial list of opponents, we're left wondering how long it might take for him to backpedal back from these comments, too?