Governor Rauner gives his budget address

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The lawsuit comes on the heels of a recent attempt to revamp the way IL funds schools and the willingness by state Senate leaders to include a new funding formula in a bill package to end the state's almost 20-month budget impasse. "If the state simply provided [the district] with the same level of funding per student that the state provides to the rest of Illinois, [Chicago] would receive almost $500 million in additional state funding for Fiscal Year 2017". The shortfall, totaling $4.6 billion, is to be filled through negotiations on a "grand bargain".

The Senate has been working on a plan that increases revenue and addresses some Rauner priorities.

Recalling the length of the stalemate, rife with accusations on both sides, Rauner said: "This isn't about pointing fingers or assigning blame".

Governor Bruce Rauner has consistently praised the Senate leadership in its bi-partisan approach to create a spending plan called the Grand Bargain.

"Now, those parameters aren't controversial - they're right in line with what Democrats and Republicans have said they agree with".

Other than expressing gratitude toward the senators' progress during his State of the State address, as reported January 25 by The Chronicle, Rauner has remained silent on his opinion on the budget package's details. "Now it's time for the governor to meet the people of our district halfway, and get serious about a budget that provides for the needs of middle-class and struggling families, the elderly and our children". He also was open to broadening Illinois' sales tax base but rejected taxing food and medicine.

"We can not raise taxes on people's groceries and medicine - just as we can not tax people's retirement incomes", he said. "That is a huge issue for them", Rep. Halpin said.

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While the settlement resolved a major source of legal uncertainty for the bank, it put a dent in its capital buffers. In the fourth quarter, the bank paid out $2 billion to settle U.S. claims it mis-sold mortgage bonds.

Meanwhile, Radogno spent part of her morning - before the budget address - in an unusual, closed-door meeting with members of the Democratic majority in the Senate.

"Spending reductions in the budget need to be real - not smoke and mirrors".

He said he's gone back 30 years and can't find a truly balanced budget.

Additionally, Rauner proposed increasing the state's student financial aid MAP grant payments by 10 percent and increasing funding for the Illinois Department of Transportation by $200 million.

The governor's correct starting position on any budget should commit IL to living within the state's $32.7 billion in expected revenues.

Without a budget in place, social service agencies, higher education and other programs have suffered.

But while the governor spoke against relying exclusively on tax hikes to balance the budget, demanded a permanent property tax freeze, and supported a strict spending cap, his proposal still falls short of providing the spending reforms necessary to avoid a tax hike altogether.

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