State of the State

In the shadow of a seven- month budget impasse, Governor Bruce Rauner delivered his second state of the state address, recognizing that Illinois is falling short.

“We have the ability to lead the nation in growth and opportunity, and yet, jobs and people are leaving our state,” said Rauner, Governor of Illinois.

In an effort to get back on track, Rauner proposed several new goals.

“To bring good jobs to Illinois, we have to make Illinois a place where it is good to do business. We must fix our workers comp system, labor regulations, liability costs, and property taxes that make us uncompetitive, and push job creators out,” said Rauner.

It’s a sentiment unions have had trouble getting behind.  Joe Riley, President of the DuPage County Building Trades is tired of what he calls Rauner’s  “anti- worker agenda,” saying:

“He claims his issues are with the unions, which he is using as the scapegoat, however, beneath the surface he is attacking the entire middle class.  to blame the economic woes of Illinois on the middle class and working families is morally irresponsible.”

But Nicki Anderson, President and CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce does see some worth to Rauner’s ideas.

“I think that he’s saying the things that people need to hear, we need to concentrate on creating a stronger state, we want to create more jobs, we want to be known as a state that gets things done and does them well and right now that’s really not the case,” said Anderson.

On the education front, Rauner laid out ten long-term goals with a focus on higher performance levels and placing more resources in the classroom- the key to which is change in distribution of state dollars.

“Significantly increase state support for education, focusing our additional resources more on low income and rural school districts so we can provide high quality classrooms in every community, without taking money away from any other districts,” said Rauner.

While local school district leaders agree it’s an ideal goal, some think it may be difficult to achieve.

“It’s going to require additional revenue, the state has never lived up to the amount that they say a school district needs to fund a childhood education, there’s a big gap there,” said Karen Sullivan, Superintendent of the Indian Prairie Education District 204.

Pushing through any items on the agenda will take conversation and collaboration between both parties.

Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.

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