Chis Kennedy, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor, attacked Gov Rauner on Tuesday for holding the state’s budget hostage to demands that the legislature include portions of the governor’s “Turnaround Agenda” before he’ll agree to sign it.
“Governor Rauner is a failed governor who has turned a budget problem into a statewide economic crisis that has hurt people across Illinois,” said Kennedy. “As he flies around the state, we hope he will finally give the people of Illinois an explanation as to why, by virtually every measure, Illinois is in worse shape than when he took office.”
In a campaign press release, Kennedy was quoted as saying, “Rauner owes it to the people of Illinois to explain why his Turnaround Agenda is more important than a state budget. While he plays politics, our schools continue to go without the resources they need, the social safety net is being shredded, and violence has become the norm in neighborhoods across the state. We ask him to put his agenda aside and give the people a budget. It’s time we get to work to fix this mess.”
In a recent interview with WCIA-TV, the Gov was asked what he had accomplished. He said where his administration needed legislative action, they’ve been largely blocked. But he noted that for the first time in seven years, his administration increased the state’s support of K-12 education, so that the “foundation level” of per-pupil spending of $6119, is now funded.
Prior to the Rauner administration, K-12 education was cut so that schools were only getting about 89% of the foundation level. However schools note that the are still owed hundreds of millions of dollars in reimbursement costs for “categorical grants” such as school bus transporation, that can cost even one district $3 to 4 Million.
Gov Rauner also noted he had created the DoIT department of technology, that is updating the state’s computer systems for the first time in decades. The project is replacing computer systems used by the state to run various departments, and many of those systems date back to the 1980s.
Kennedy, a Chicago businessman, is the former head of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, and is the son of the late Sen Robert F Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968 while running for President. He is also the nephew of President John F Kennedy.