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Governor who can’t cut, criticizes Democrats for not letting him cut more

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SPRINGFIELD -- For more than a week, Senate committees asked Gov. Bruce Rauner’s agencies to identify potential budget cuts to help close a $5 billion gap in the governor’s state budget. So far, they’ve been unable to come up with any.

That experience is among the reasons Democrats on Wednesday voted down a plan to give the governor unilateral power to cut whatever he wants to fill the gap in his budget. Another reason would be the Senate’s own efforts to create a grand bargain budget deal to restore financial stability.

In response to the rejection of his blind budget cutting authority, Gov. Rauner issued a press release criticizing Democrats for not working with him.

Illinois Senate Democrats took issue with that:

“The governor had the chance to balance the budget on his own. We even set aside a day for him to unveil it to the public. He had that chance last month, last year and the year before that. He’s failed at every chance. So, I’m not sure who he’s talking to anymore when he demands that someone needs to balance his budget,” said Senate Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, a Maywood Democrat.

“If this is working with us on the budget, let me know when he starts working against us,” said Senate Assistant Majority Leader Terry Link, a Vernon Hills Democrat.

“Maybe the governor missed a memo. His own budget director has told us time and again that the governor’s budget is balanced. I don’t know what the governor’s getting so worked up about. He should go talk to his own budget director to be reassured of just how balanced his budget is,” said Senate Majority Leader James F. Clayborne, a Belleville Democrat.