SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — In his first budget address Governor Bruce Rauner called for major spending cuts, saying, “For far too long we have been living beyond our means — spending money that Illinois taxpayers could not afford.”
Rauner wants to cut Medicaid spending by $1.5 billion, higher education by $387 million and tax money funneled to cities and towns by $600 million.
Some of the cuts aimed at local municipalities irked area mayors.
He also wants state workers moved into a new lower-benefit pension plan to save $2.2 billion.
Chicago-area and downstate transit agencies also face cuts, including the elimination of reduced-fare programs for the Regional Transportation Authority.
Amid the cuts, Rauner proposed increasing general state aid to schools by $300 million, far less than the $566 million requested by the Illinois State Board of Education.
The governor is trying to close a $5 billion budget hole for the year beginning July 1.
Rauner’s plans will be a tough sell in the Legislature, where Democrats hold veto-proof majorities in both chambers.