(CBS) — As the state’s budget stalemate enters its third year, Gov. Bruce Rauner says he’s not expecting a breakthrough and he insists he’s not to blame for the ongoing impasse.
With the Illinois General Assembly back in session next week, the governor sat down with CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley.
“It’s frustrating to me, so frustrating, that we haven’t put together a balanced budget along with some changes to the system, so we can have a better future,” Rauner says.
Rauner expressed little hope for a truce in his budget war with Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.
He hasn’t met one-on-one with Madigan since last summer, he says.
“Both sides need to want an agreement. So far, the Speaker has said, ‘No changes at all. We will not discuss change, only deficit spending.’ That’s his only interest: forcing a tax hike with no change,” the governor says.
The Republican governor has demanded passage of at least some parts of his pro-business agenda: property tax relief, term limits, workers comp reform. That’s his price for a tax increase to balance the budget.
He’s already he’s preparing for the next election, by giving his campaign war chest $50 million.
“I believe in the future. I believe in myself, and that’s an investment in changing the direction of the state,” Rauner says.
Rauner also released a list of accomplishments: reducing the prison population, cutting penalties for non-violent offenders, upgrading technology. He is bracing for election charges that his Springfield shakeup failed.
“We’ve had failure for decades in Illinois. Our system is broken. Change is necessary,” he says.