Over the course of a week, more than a dozen Rauner administration cabinet directors were called to testify in Senate committees and asked to come up with budget cuts to reduce the $5 billion hole in the governor's budget. Every state agency across the board would need to cut spending by 20 percent to achieve the balanced budget the governor wants.

Public Health Committee Chairwoman Patricia Van Pelt questioned Public Health Director Nirav Shah and asked him to provide a list of potential cuts from his department. Here is what Sen. Van Pelt had to say during a press conference with Senate committee chairs.

Category: News

budget impasseWTAX News Radio - March 10, 2017 | original article

Who says there’s trouble with the Grand Bargain?

“To see this much being done this quickly,” says State Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) “really says something about the urgency of this and the commitment of the Senate president and the Senate Republican leader to get this done.”

It’s almost as if voting on the multi-bill package hasn’t stalled out, with Democrats accusing Gov. Bruce Rauner of intimidating Republicans into withdrawing their support — after Rauner publicly praised the effort and even recorded a campaign-style video taking credit for it.

“I don’t know if the governor is going to just run this down to the end of the year, and then pack his bags and leave Illinois, but the citizens of Illinois, the taxpayers will pay that bill. We will pay that bill of $11 million a day.” said State Sen. Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago). “It’s outrageous! So the Grand Bargain is still alive in our hearts, and we are just waiting for the Republicans to come on board.”

State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) wants the theme of the week to be: the Rauner cabinet can’t identify any cuts, even after the governor has advocated spending cuts.

“Time and again,” Manar said of this week’s committee hearings, “agency directors told us in very certain terms, that they cannot cut their budgets any deeper than they already have been.”

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Category: News

State Seal of IllinoisNPR Illinois - March 8, 2017 | original article

By Brian Mackey

Illinois senators are putting put Governor Bruce Rauner’s agency directors under the magnifying glass.

It’s part of the ongoing fallout from Rauner’s move to block the bipartisan "grand bargain” — meant to end Illinois’ 20-month budget stalemate.

Rauner pulled Republican votes off the grand bargain — he’s holding out for what he calls a "good deal for taxpayers." But without the bargain, the governor's own budget proposal has a $4.6 billion deficit.

In a series of hearings, Democrats put this math problem to Rauner’s agency heads.

Here’s Sen. Patricia Van Pelt of Chicago with Dr. Nirav Shah, of the Illinois Department of Public Health.

VAN PELT: "Can you tell me how you would reduce your budget by $22 million? If you can’t you just can’t."

SHAH: “Our proposed budget does not contain $22 million of cuts, so …"

VAN PELT: “Thank you."

Senate Democrats say there’s a reason Rauner was shut out of negotiations. They say they’ve been working on the deal for months, and have given up as much as they can.

Category: News

03092017CM0976SPRINGFIELD – After a week of testimonies from Gov. Bruce Rauner’s cabinet members on potential cuts they could make in their departments, it’s clear that Rauner has no plan to balance his proposed budget.

“Governor Rauner has once again proved that he is all talk and no action,” Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) said. “He has spent the past two years harping on the need to reduce spending, but when given the opportunity to offer cuts, his cabinet members were silent.”

Senate Public Health Committee Chairwoman Van Pelt is one of several Senate committee chairs who spent the week asking state agency directors what programs they intend to cut to help balance the nearly $5 billion in deficits Gov. Rauner proposed.

“Every state agency across the board would need to cut spending by 20 percent to achieve the balanced budget the governor wants,” Van Pelt said. “I am absolutely stunned that Gov. Rauner hasn’t even asked agency directors to provide a list of cuts they could make in their departments. Every day without a budget costs the state $11 million. The governor should be offering solutions, but instead he is creating chaos and destruction.”

The move by Senate committee chairs comes one week after Gov. Rauner derailed the Senate’s bipartisan plan to resolve the state’s budget impasse. Agency directors have been asked to return to Senate committees next week with a detailed list of cuts.

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Category: Press Releases
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