Governor Rauner Taps New Chief Of Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — Four days after Illinois lawmakers overrode his veto of a $36 billion budget plan and an income tax hike, Gov. Bruce Rauner has replaced his chief of staff.

Rauner’s office announced Monday morning that chief of staff Richard Goldberg will be returning to work in consulting, and will be replaced with Kristina Rasmussen, who has been president and chief operating officer of the Illinois Policy Institute since last year.

“Rich is one of the most talented policy, political and communications advisors I’ve ever met and I will forever be indebted to his faithful public service for the last three and a half years,” Rauner said in a prepared statement. “I respect his decision to return to national security, foreign policy and consulting. Diana and I will always value his counsel and we wish him the best of luck in his next adventure.”

Goldberg had served as a top aide in the governor’s administration before he was appointed chief of staff, and was previously a top campaign adviser. He also previously was a top aide to then-U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk.

“When you lose, you look for a way to win the next time or a way to get as far as you can the next time,” Republican analyst Chris Robling tells CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley.

Before joining Rauner’s staff, Rasmussen was a top executive at the Illinois Policy Institute since 2009. In late June, she wrote a piece for the conservative policy group, saying Rauner was taking a “politically dangerous” stance by publicly supporting a tax hike.

Although Rauner issued a veto of the income tax hike from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent, he previously had said he supported a tax increase with conditions – including a property tax freeze and significant changes to workers’ compensation laws. The governor said he vetoed the tax increase because it did not include any of the reforms he had demanded.

Weeks before his veto of the budget plan and income tax hike, Rauner and House Republicans had publicly supported a tax increase, but only if it was temporary and came with a freeze of local property taxes, workers’ compensation changes, local government consolidations, term limits for elected officials, and other reforms.

“The tax hike budget that the governor and Republicans in the Illinois General Assembly are advancing is toxic to Republican prospects,” Rasmussen wrote in a June 29 article that has since been removed from the IPI website.

After the House and Senate overrode his budget and tax hike vetoes with the help of Republican lawmakers, Rauner condemned the spending plan as “another step in Illinois’ never-ending tragic trail of tax hikes.”

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