Madigan accuses Rauner of putting 'right-wing agenda' above taxpayers
After a bipartisan meeting with legislative leaders on Sunday night, House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) described Gov. Bruce Rauner's demands for a property tax freeze as another way the governor is pushing his agenda ahead of the real needs of Illinoisans.
“I think it’s reflective of how the governor has conducted himself since he has assumed office,” Madigan said. “He’s attempting to enact an extreme right-wing agenda on the people of Illinois. He’s held hostage the budget-making.”
Madigan met privately with House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), Senate Majority Leader John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont). Afterward, he said the state had no problems passing budgets before Rauner took office.
“Let me repeat again, which I’ve said over two and a half years when the turnaround agenda [was] dropped [by Rauner]: Illinois has done seven budget bills," Madigan said. Seven budget bills have been done, signed by the governor where there is no turnaround agenda. But here we are: We have a government that wants to impose an extreme right agenda on the people of Illinois.”
Lawmakers are currently halfway through a 10-day special session specifically intended to reach a budget agreement. If they succeed, it would be the state's first full budget in two years. If they fail, the state is facing even greater economic problems, including the likelihood of a credit downgrade to the lowest in U.S. history.
Rauner and the GOP have been pushing for a property tax freeze as part of any budget. The topic became even more pressing after the Chicago Tribune produced a scathing expose showing a large disparity in property assessments between the wealthy and poor in Chicago suburbs.
The paper accused Cook County Tax Commissioner Joseph Berrios of creating a “staggering pattern of inequality” that has gone on for years. Berrios has strong ties to Madigan, and the Tribune alleged that Madigan prominently benefits from the broken tax system in Cook County.
Madigan said he would work with Republicans on property tax reforms only if they would agree to his education funding reform, workers’ compensation monitoring and transparency on Rauner’s Medicaid reform.
Rauner had not yet responded as of press time.
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