Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks, on the other hand, focused on the social service agencies and families that have been hurting because of seven months without a state budget in place, which Franks warned will put significant hurt on taxpayers as well.
Legislative Democrats in May approved a budget that was $4 billion in the red, but Rauner vetoed all of it except for the portion funding public schools. While most Democratic legislators want a tax increase to help close the deficit, now about $5 billion, Rauner has refused to entertain the idea unless it is paired with some of the reforms he is seeking. He has, for now, taken collective bargaining changes and others Democrats find particularly objectionable off the table.
Franks, D-Marengo, said both sides can find a lot of common ground “when legislators and the governor can put aside the destructive delusion that it’s acceptable for real people to suffer as long as the other side of the aisle takes the blame.”
“This is no time to listen to a speech and leave town. The governor and legislative leaders should lock the General Assembly down and we should stay in Springfield and pass a balanced budget. This is a time to do the work of the people and to end the petty partisan bickering that is causing real hardship to our citizens,” Franks said.
Rauner is scheduled to give his address for the 2017 budget Feb. 17, which could create the unprecedented spectacle of a governor delivering next year’s budget without a current budget in place. The next state fiscal year starts July 1.