(CBS) – Gov. Bruce Rauner took office vowing to slash spending, save money and balance budgets. You’d never know it from what he’s done in the past 24 hours.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine says Rauner actually increased spending, rather than cut it.
He’s created a whole new level of government, purportedly to save money. And then, after demanding a 20 percent cut in higher education budgets, he gave his blessing to an expensive new vocational training program.
Rauner dressed the part for the grand opening of Harper College’s Welding Lab on Friday. He tried his hand learning a skill that will lead to careers for the $34 million program’s future graduates.
The new governor said “education includes vocational training, occupational training, technical training,” not just traditional classroom learning.
In other words, he told the crowd in Palatine, money spent now will pay dividends later.
It’s the same argument Rauner made when questioned about filling three brand-new top-level positions whose salaries and support staffs will undoubtedly cost millions.
“The reality is, the folks coming in are willing to take pretty big salary cuts to what they’ve been making because they want to be public servants and give back,” Rauner said.
But other than talking about 20 percent budget cuts, Rauner still hasn’t revealed much about his fiscal strategy. Most lawmakers seemed willing to give him some more time to do it.
“Fiscal responsibility isn’t the province of one political party,” Democrat Dan Kotowski said. “Figure out ways to fund what works, and get rid of what doesn’t.”
There’s nothing new about outside efficiency experts. Mayor Emanuel’s been using them for years. But Rauner’s actually hiring people, and paying them with taxpayer dollars.