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Directors unprepared to deal with Rauner’s $5 billion out-of-balance budget

3/15/2017, 3 p.m.
State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) joined fellow chairs of Senate Committees recently discuss that Governor Rauner’s agency directors have offered ...

State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) joined fellow chairs of Senate Committees recently discuss that Governor Rauner’s agency directors have offered no new cuts to close out the $5 billion out-of-balance budget he proposed.

“What’s frustrating is that we have a governor who has derailed budget negotiations and presented an unbalanced budget for next year,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

When asked on several occasions before Senate committees, sixteen of Rauner’s agency heads were unable to identify a single dollar to cut from Illinois $36 billion operations budget.

Bertino-Tarrant, the chair of the Illinois Senate’s Education Committee, questioned Superintendent of Education Tony Smith about what cuts he would make to close Rauner’s budget gap. His response was that Chairman James Meeks of the Illinois State Board of Education had directed him not to say anything about reductions.

“Superintendent Smith said he, as well as Chairman Meeks, will not advocate for cuts,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “The governor needs to face the fact that his leaders are unable to identify any more reductions.”