CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) — Gov. Bruce Rauner Wednesday unveiled his budget proposal for the upcoming year, and there’s already partisan disagreement about what the spending plan means for the state.
Rauner called it a $38 billion reform budget.
And make no mistake, his budget message includes a call for an income tax cut and controlling some state spending. He’s also proposing the Chicago Public Schools, suburban and downstate school districts pay more of their pension costs, thus saving the state more than $1 billion.
With that, however, CPS would also lose $228 million in pension help it received last year.
“We need to move pension costs to people who do the buying, and make them responsible for the paying, too,” the governor said. “If we do this realignment, we can eliminate the $2 billion defect in the budget you passed last summer, we can avoid new taxes, we can fund top priorities.”
By doing so, Rauner said the state could pay down its backlog of bills.
“Under the current system, they have no incentive to manage costs because the state picks them up — no matter what they are. When people are responsible for paying the bill, there will be plenty of incentive to lower the costs,” Rauner said.
Opponents say shifting pensions to local districts means higher property taxes.
“Basically, what he’s doing is cutting education without admitting it. It’s textbook for Rauner — pretend you’re doing one thing, push the problem onto someone else and walk away,” Sen. Daniel Biss said.
As for health care, Rauner said taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for government health insurance policies “richer than the ones they can afford themselves.”
So, he wants to shift more health care costs onto state workers, saving almost $500 million.
Democrats are not impressed with Rauner’s balanced budget. “Apparently, he wants to balance it on the backs of working families and those owed pensions,” J.B. Pritzker said.