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Gov. Bruce Rauner: No stopgap budget without education funding deal too

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By Chris Kaergard, Peoria Journal Star

So near, and yet so far away.

Gov. Bruce Rauner said during a visit to Peoria Friday that Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature are “pretty well agreed” on a stopgap measure that would fund core state government operations and provide money to human service groups through January 2017 — but that the two sides remain far apart on a measure to fund education for a full year.

Agreement on both is critical, as Rauner said less than a week before the start of a new fiscal year that he won’t sign that stopgap bill without a similar agreement on education funding that’s on his terms.

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“Both bills should pass … I’m going to insist on that,” he said after a visit to a conference of the Illinois Economic Development Association at the Marriott Pere Marquette, the second of three Peoria-area stops for Rauner.

To that end, he again reiterated his call for central Illinoisans to pressure local Democrats in the Legislature to support the stopgap and the GOP education proposal rather than a Democratic alternative that Rauner said would spend money the state doesn’t have for a “bailout” of Chicago Public Schools.

“Chicago shouldn’t be treated differently, or treated in a more superior way,” he said. “They deserve to be treated like all the other school districts.”

Illinois lawmakers have long carved out exceptions for Chicago and its schools in measures.

Asked if he would use amendatory and line-item reduction veto powers granted him under the Illinois Constitution to reduce amounts allocated, if Democrats controlling the Legislature sent him an education measure that spent an amount he felt was too high, Rauner said he would have to see how the measure was structured.

Meanwhile, to a question about whether he planned to sign legislation on his desk that would allocate $700 million in existing funds to human services programs, Rauner said that he wasn’t inclined to approve the measure because similar provisions were included in his stopgap funding proposal.

If lawmakers don’t agree to a spending plan of some type by the end of the state’s fiscal year, most state spending — including on prison operations and road projects — will come to a halt.

Rauner also visited the Peoria Rotary Club — Downtown and toured the Illinois Air National Guard base in Bartonville.

Speaking to the economic development group, Rauner also reiterated a previous desire to begin traveling abroad to help spark investment in Illinois and boosting trade with its businesses. He’s previously said such trips are near the top of his agenda once budgetary issues can be resolved.

He otherwise stuck — in many cases word for word — to the same talking points he has used multiple times since his January 2015 inauguration on visits to Peoria and other stops throughout the state about economic conditions in the Land of Lincoln and his proposed reforms.

(c)2016 the Journal Star (Peoria, Ill.)

Visit the Journal Star (Peoria, Ill.) at www.PJStar.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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