Rauner takes to Facebook to try to sink Dems’ ‘lifeline’ bill

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As House Democrats wrapped up a caucus to discuss a “lifeline” bill to send $750 million in special funds to social service agencies, public universities and domestic violence shelters that have run dry during the historic budget impasse, Gov. Bruce Rauner released a Facebook video saying he’ll oppose any “stopgap” measure without a permanent property tax freeze.

“We cannot accept a [House Speaker Michael] Madigan stopgap without a permanent property tax freeze to protect the hard working taxpayers of Illinois,” Rauner said in the video, while urging the Democratic supermajority to reconsider the bill.

The governor also blamed “stopgap” budgets on higher state debt and higher taxes down the road: “They keep our universities, community colleges and social service agencies on the verge of collapse with no permanent funding to keep their lines of credit intact.”

He’s also blamed Madigan for stopgap budgets that he said are meant to force a tax hike. And said he’d only support a tax hike with his preferred reforms, including a permanent property tax freeze.

A partial budget ran out on Jan. 1 — leaving social service agencies and universities in the lurch of the historic budget impasse. Since then, the Illinois Senate has tried to pass a “grand bargain” package that included some of Rauner’s preferred reforms. But Senate Republicans, sans their leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, deserted the plan because Rauner believed it didn’t go far enough.

Rauner supports a budget proposal introduced last week by Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington. Brady’s plan includes more than $5 billion in spending cuts.  Meanwhile, a group of Democratic lawmakers launched their “comeback agenda,” which includes a focus on job creation, education, improving community health and safety and limiting the influence of money in politics. The group wants to replace the state’s flat income tax rate with a graduated one.

The House “lifeline” bill, sponsored by Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, would send $750 million from special funds to human services, higher education, MAP grants, community colleges and violence prevention.

The Facebook video was released as House Democrats wrapped up a caucus to discuss the bill, which is scheduled to be heard before the appropriations committee later Wednesday.


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