Long now says Rauner also to blame for budget deficit
State Rep. Jerry Long (R-Streator) placed the blame for the state’s running budget deficit on Gov. Bruce Rauner as well as the Democrat-controlled House in an interview this week with The (Ottawa) Times.
Long had earlier cited only the House Democrats as being responsible for final approval of a budget with a nearly $2 billion deficit -- a violation of the state Constitution -- in a Facebook video and in an earlier interview with The Times.
But this week Long acknowledged that Rauner's initial budget proposal wasn't balanced.
"It is our responsibility to work across the aisle to get a balanced budget," Long said. "Both sides weren't working in good faith. I would recommend the governor present a balanced budget. It's necessary. It's constitutional."
Long also said the governor "did wrong" when he proposed an unbalanced budget. "But that doesn't give us latitude" to avoid giving a revenue estimate."
Long did not return calls from the Illinois Valley Times for further comment.
Ted Dabrowski, president of WirePoints, said that it’s incumbent upon the governor each year to propose a balanced spending plan in “good faith,” a plan that’s a reflection of his vision for the state.
“The only time Rauner really accomplished that was his first year in office," Dabrowski told the Illinois Valley Times. “The other budget proposals have not been balanced.”
Last year, Rauner, in his budget address, listed no spending cuts or revenue increases to close a $4.6 billion gap in his proposed budget. Rather, he said that he would work with the legislature to devise a plan to close the gap. The legislature ended up approving a more than $5 billion increase in personal and business income taxes with a final spending plan, and then in early July they overrode the governor’s veto of it.
This year the state is expected to face a $3 billion deficit when the fiscal year ends June 30.
The governor is scheduled to give his budget address on Wednesday, Feb. 14.