Democrats say Rauner's budget proposal would take $1B from education

Democrats say Rauner's budget proposal would take $1B from education

Governor Bruce Rauner laid out several reforms in his budget address Wednesday.

Rauner was tasked with proposing a balanced budget in a state that has a $9 billion bill backlog.

He and other Republicans claim the plan he laid out is balanced.

Rauner said his number one objective is to have a $1 billion income tax cut by the end of session.

His plan includes major reforms to the state's pension system. Democrats said doing that would increase property taxes across the state, but Rauner says by enacting that reform and a few others, the state could end up running a surplus.

His speech included calls to work together to enact reforms to the state pension system and healthcare, otherwise, he said the state's economy will remain sluggish.

"Move pension and health care costs where they belong," Rauner said. "Give local governments the tools to cut costs. Reduce workers' comp rates. Sell the Thompson Center. These savings will produce a surplus to put against our backlog."

Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, responded on behalf of House Democrats following the budget address Wednesday.

Harris said the governor's pension plan takes $1 billion away from education.

He said there's too much at stake for Rauner to be playing election-year games.

"Peoples lives are on the line so we're prepared to continue working with legislative Republicans to provide for life-saving healthcare, invest in our schools, create jobs and protect elderly and at risk residents either with the governor or without him," Harris said.

During the address, Rauner said the budget passed by the General Assembly over his veto in July was running a huge deficit.

Democrats both laughed and grumbled at that since it's the first year-long budget that's been in place since Rauner took office.

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