Rauner vows to ‘stay the course’

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Rauner vows to ‘stay the course’

By Allison Petty, Herald & Review

There’s a common misconception about Gov. Bruce Rauner’s disagreements with state Democrats, he told Macon County Republicans on Thursday.

“People think right now that I’m fighting with the Democrats about the budget,” Rauner said. “That’s a little bit of it. You know what it really is? We’re fighting for the future of Illinois.”

In a 15-minute keynote speech at the annual Lincoln Day dinner, Rauner reiterated his legislative priorities and outlined what he said were examples of inefficiencies in state government.

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“I don’t know how bad you guys think government is — it’s worse. The waste, the inefficiency, the bureaucracy, oh my goodness,” he said. “I have to get six permissions just to turn on a light switch.”

Earlier this year, Rauner announced creation of the Department of Innovation and Technology to centralize the state’s information technology services and upgrade IT infrastructure across state agencies. He has also called for streamlining the way the state buys goods and services.

The state is in its 10th month without a budget. Rauner has defined a list of priorities, which he described Thursday as four key types of reform: political, state government, local government and pro-business.

He repeated calls for measures such as legislative term limits and redistricting changes, consolidation of local government units and cutting workers’ compensation costs.

Rauner acknowledged that he might not be able to achieve all of the desired goals at once.

“We got into this mess over a long period of time, and we’re not gonna get out in one year,” he said. “But you know what, what we’re not gonna do is back down and just put a massive tax hike on the people of Illinois.”

As he has in the past, Rauner emphasized that growth is the key to stabilizing the state’s economy.

“The No. 1 state where our jobs go is Indiana, and they ain’t going there for the weather,” he said. “They’re going there because the regulations and the tax burden is much more pro-growth, pro-small business.”

Introducing the governor, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, praised Rauner for holding his ground and doing “the hardest job in Illinois politics right now.”

When Rauner and House Speaker Mike Madigan, D-Chicago, eventually meet to negotiate solutions, Davis said Rauner would undoubtedly fight for everything he could.

“But he’s not going to be able to get everything,” Davis said. “That’s when we, as Republicans, need to stand stronger behind our governor and make sure he continues to fight, because when we make these victories, it’s going to be that much easier to get the rest of it as we move forward and elect more Republicans in November.”

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