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Rauner Vetoes Most Of State Budget, Cites $4 Billion Deficit

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed the majority of the state budget plan cobbled together by majority Democratic lawmakers, setting the stage for a possible shutdown of many state services.

The governor blamed House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton for sending him a spending plan that is nearly $4 billion short on revenue.

"For too long, the State of Illinois has made spending promises that exceed available revenues, relied on accounting gimmicks to make budgets appear balanced, used borrowing and cost deferral strategies to push costs into the future, and delayed payments to vendors," Rauner said in a veto statement.

Although Rauner on Wednesday approved a budget measure to increase state funding for education, on Thursday he vetoed 19 other budget bills sent to his desk by Democratic lawmakers.

Facing a June 30 deadline to approve a budget plan for fiscal year 2016, Rauner said "the surest way to do that is by enacting structural reforms inside government and economic reforms that stimulate our economy and bring new jobs to Illinois."

Rauner's budget vetoes drew a swift rebuke from key Democratic lawmakers.


State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood), head of the Legislative Black Caucus, was in Chicago's West Side, leading a rally urging the governor not to cut social and health programs that would suffer from a veto.

She said she's angry with Rauner's move, saying it's ridiculous the budget would be held up over his so-called "Turnaround Agenda," which doesn't generate revenue, but instead proposes changes to worker's compensation laws, civil lawsuit procedures, and limiting labor union power.

"I've served with a number of governors. They all run on an agenda. Each year they just chip away, chip away, chip away, and have some wins that they can take back to their people," she said. "The governor seems to think he can just lay it all on table … 'Give me what I want, or else.' That is not how you govern. That is not how you create relationships. It's about relationships, too."

Other lawmakers and community activists have said countless people would lose needed services – like child care and mental health treatment – if state funding is cut significantly.

"The example right now of just cutting all the budget, but yet signing the education portion, here again shows me the scare tactics, the bullying tactics; 'I want all of what I want, you get nothing,'" she said.

The Associated Press reports House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said she had hoped Rauner might sign the budget, and opt not to spend money in some areas to keep spending down.

"To veto outright means we really are starting from ground zero," she said.

The House and Senate both were scheduled to be back in session on Tuesday, the final day to approve a 2016 budget plan before the next fiscal year starts. Without a spending plan in place, the state won't have the authority to spend money on anything but education, since that's the only area of the budget Rauner approved.

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