SPRINGFIELD, Ill -- Gov Bruce Rauner spoke today about a tough agenda that will deal with education and pension problems plaguing the state. He says the pension system and other state finances are a mess.
The “Illinois Turnaround Plan” isn't new. Rauner spoke about it often during the campaign. It also closely aligns with what we've seen the Republican governors in Wisconsin and Indiana do. The difference here is that Democrats control the general assembly making this plan more of a long shot. ..
“We have a very serious problem,” Rauner told WGN in a one-on-one interview. “We have a crisis."
First on that crisis list is state pensions. The governor wants a tiered system. The old plan would be locked in for current work, while a new tier would increase retirement age to 67 with 10 years of service and limit benefits.
On minimum wage, the governor has a seven year plan, raising it 25 cents an hour each year and maxing out at $10 an hour by 2022.
“We need to make structural change so we can grow,” Rauner said.
Governor Rauner wants 10 year term limits on state lawmakers and champions Illinois to become a “right to work” state, basically making union membership optional, at least for public employees and, in some cases, private employees too.
“Our agenda is not damaging. The unions, frankly if we could turn things around, will have more jobs and rising wages and, frankly, more union members,” he said.
The governor says all of it is to create a better climate for business. He recently gave out corporate tax breaks while also cutting millions in state funding to social programs, prompting more protests against the plan.
A spokesperson for House Speaker Madigan says, "I wouldn't characterize the speaker as being on board with this plan. … I've seen no specifics, no legislation. When there are actual details, we will see what happens."