STUMP » Articles » Governor Bruce Rauner on Recent Illinois Issues » 6 January 2016, 14:46

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Governor Bruce Rauner on Recent Illinois Issues  


6 January 2016, 14:46

I noticed a few sites linking to this audio file of a press conference Gov. Rauner of Illinois did on Monday, January 4, 2016.

I really hate dealing with audio, so I typed up my own transcript so I can quote it. I am trying something new, so I’m not sure if the document will embed below.

Transcript of press conference, Gov. Rauner, Jan 4, 2016

In case that didn’t work, here is a direct link: Transcript of Rauner press conference, Jan 4, 2016

I will comment later, but I wanted to pull out a few elements from my transcript:


Rauner talks about likelihood of getting anything substantive passed, starting at about 2:22 in the recording:

[RAUNER] I believe we can. Here are the challenges we’ve got:

Right now the good news is, now that we’re in the new year, it only takes a simple majority, not supermajority to pass bills. So on tough votes, that’s an opportunity. Number one.

Number two: now this is the … contrary to what’s spun in the media, I’ve many friends in the Democratic caucus, we talk regularly, and many of them have quietly told me that the Speaker may not want to vote on anything tough until after the primaries.

I really don’t want to wait to get a budget until after the primaries. But, once there are primaries and people can see who won and who lost — there are lame ducks created by elections.


[RAUNER] Then okay, that might free up a person to vote and they’re not worried about re-election in the general, maybe they can take a tough vote.

I hope we’re not making our decisions for critical quality of life issues for the people of Illinois based on those kinds of mechanics, but you know what – welcome to Illinois politics.

I’ve also had a few people tell me, and boy oh boy I hope they’re wrong, that the Speaker doesn’t want to vote until after the general elections. Then you have a whole bunch of lame ducks after November. Between November and January.

We should not wait that long to do structural improvements for the quality of life for the people of Illinois, but these are the mechanics going on right now.

That’s a bit more straightforward than I remember Quinn being.

Maybe people will take the vote. I dunno. If they’re voted out, whether by primary or general, what’s the leverage to get them to vote? They want their sinecures! Best not to piss anybody off.

So we shall see.

(The numbers you see are time stamps, btw)


There are a couple different places where Rauner talks about Chicago.

Right after talking about legislative strategy, Rauner goes into Chicago:

[RAUNER] You’re going to hear very shortly, I’m sure that the mayor of Chicago is going to come out very shortly and start saying: it’s Springfield’s fault that Chicago Public Schools are in trouble.

And let’s be clear: Chicago Public Schools are in dramatic trouble, as is the city, but the schools are worse.


[RAUNER] It’s outrageous, what’s happened to the schools of Chicago. It’s a tragedy for the children and for the parents, the city of Chicago.

I personally have spent decades and significant personal resources trying to help the schoolchildren in the city of Chicago and to improve the schools. They’re looking at a disaster somewhere in the next 9 months, in the Chicago public schools.

The mayor will attempt to blame Springfield, and say “Springfield owes it to us, to send us lots of cash, and to take our pension liability off our books.”

Let me be clear: that is fundamentally wrong, fundamentally not true.

It is accurate that Chicago is the only community that pays its own teachers’ pensions, that’s true. But that’s been true for over one hundred years.

And Chicago, as much as they’d like to deny, and we’re going to … Chicago gets $600 million more for their school district than other comparable school districts based upon the number of students and the number of students in poverty.


[RAUNER]…to more than make up for the fact that Illinois doesn’t pay the teachers pensions in Chicago like it does for other communities.

So for them to say “Hey, you owe it to us, it’s Springfield’s fault, pick up our pension liability, and let us kick the can on the rest of our pension liability”

No. No. Not happenin’.

We’ll work together, cooperatively, if the city is helping us reform the state, we’ll work together to solve some problems.

If Chicago is either opposing reform for the state, which so far they are, or staying silent, and letting the Speaker block reform, no, I’m sorry, we’re not doing things to help the city of Chicago. As much as I would like to… and believe me, no one would like to more than me, but it’s not gonna happen. … You’re going to hear it now, very soon, and this is a critical time.



[RAUNER] One of the reasons I’m cautious and optimistic we can get some reforms, is because, you know what, Chicago has been so financially mismanaged — they have been doing for years, on a small scale, what the Speaker is trying to get the state to do right now. And we’re not gonna go down that road.

That’s one of the least difficult predictions to make about Chicago: that they’ll blame state government.

Then there’s something that comes up later re: Chicago, nearer the end of the presser:

[Reporter 7] Governor, we understand you’re


[Reporter 7] …what Mayor Emanuel, the way he’s run the public school system, and now the police department, what’s your assessment of how he’s doing and … [noise]

[RAUNER] Uh, oh boy. Let me say a couple things. He inherited a mess that was covered up significantly, and frankly, … some of what was going on even I didn’t know, and I been working trying to improve the schools, and the city for decades…


[RAUNER]…some of it I didn’t even know and I was, ya know, looking around, trying to look for trouble for a long time. He’s inherited trouble, but he hasn’t taken on a lot of structural changes, neither has President Preckwinkle.

No structural real improvements. They’re raising taxes, and not doing real structural change. And also, this … I don’t want to comment to much now, there’s a federal investigation going on about the handling of this police, community policing, and the videos.

I signed expansion bill for video, body cameras for police last summer, I pushed for criminal justice reform in my first week in office, I think criminal justice reform and reducing prison population is one of the most critical things that we can do.

I’ll say this, and I’m gonna leave it at that: I am very disappointed in the mayor, and in the state’s attorney for Cook County. Very disappointed. I’m not gonna say more than that right now, because there’s a lot of investigation going on, but I’m very disappointed.


[RAUNER] Yes sir

[Reporter 8] On that topic, do you support the efforts to enact recall for mayor of Chicago?

[RAUNER] I’ll say a couple things about that. From what I’ve been told, I’ve not studied the bill that’s been proposed, but what I’ve been informed about it, based upon that, I would sign that bill. Number one.

Number two, I’ll say I’m broadly supportive of the recall concept in general for all elected officials, all elected officials in this state, that would be the best bill to pass.

But I also think it’s important for us to understand what our attorneys, because I’ve been asking about this, what our attorneys have told me is that if that if any kind of recall bill passed, it could not or would not apply to sitting elected officials. It could only apply to folks elected in the future.


[RAUNER] That’s what I’ve been told, I’m not an expert, but that’s what I’ve been told.

Yeah, so either you’ve got to push Rahm enough to get him to resign… and I think it would require federal indictment to get to that level. It’s probably a matter of pride at this point.


Given my post on not borrowing for operational costs, this bit is right up my alley:

[Reporter 10] …is borrowing $480 million at this point a wise move given the state’s … [hard to understand?] financial position?

[RAUNER] Absolutely yes. If it were to cover operations or an operating deficit, I would say no. I’ve been opposed to that from day one.

This is for construction. Construction is long-term benefit, and we should tie the financing to the nature of the expenditure. Short-term spending should not be covered by long-term bonds, but infrastructure — roads, bridges, major construction of buildings — that should be done by bonding in many cases, not all, but most, and is very appropriate.

Despite the lack of a budget, and despite some of the political leaders being relatively hostile to economic growth, we need to grow our economy, infrastructure is critical.

It’s very appropriate, that despite everything, that we continue to invest in our infrastructure, and bonding is part of that.

Okay? Anybody else? Thanks very much. Happy New Year everybody.


And that’s exactly right. You want the financing to tie to the lifetime of the asset you’re financing. Operational costs are of the moment, so only short-term financing, if that, should be used there. You shouldn’t be issuing 30-year-bonds to cover this year’s payroll (which includes pension contributions).

But if you’re building a bridge that will last 30 years, a 30-year bond is appropriate.

There was more in there re: DuPage County, but I need to look up sources on that before commenting.


Audio file:


Site I used to assist transcription:

I put in time stamps about once per minute, for convenience. I tried editing out disfluencies, and did the best I could with punctuation. People do not speak in complete sentences, unless giving prepared speeches. There are often “um“s, “uh“s, repetitions of phrases, asides, etc. Sometimes I wrote “going to” and sometimes “gonna”.

Transcriptions are an art, not a science.

No, I will not necessarily be doing this often.

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