At the end of last year, Governor Bruce Rauner announced his “biggest achievements” of 2017, ranging from reforms in education to the $5 billion project in proposing Chicago as the location of the second headquarters of Amazon, which his administration argued would bring thousands of new jobs to Illinois. Although his self-proclaimed successes might sound like promising improvements to the state of Illinois, many of the items on the list have been heavily contested by the public.
Since his list had been released, Governor Rauner has received much criticism, including from the Democratic candidates he is running against in the 2018 gubernatorial elections. Billionaire J. B. Pritzker launched his own parody of Rauner’s top-ten achievements by listing the “accomplishments” of the “worst Republican governor in America,” a title coined by the conservative magazine National Review.
Among other “accomplishments” of Rauner, Pritzker’s list attributes several crises to our current governor, including a budget crisis, veterans’ home crisis, and a school funding crisis.
Chris Kennedy’s democratic campaign has also shared their opinions on Rauner’s successes, saying that the current governor was being “disingenuous” for “patting himself on the back.”
“It would take more than 10 items to list the lasting damage Governor Rauner has inflicted on the state of Illinois from slashing the social safety net to cutting public education to the rampant gun violence across Illinois,” said Rebecca Evans, a spokeswoman for the Kennedy campaign.
“It’s a warmed-over list of so-called accomplishments, some of which he opposed, some of which just benefit the wealthy and well-connected, and some of which are simply figments of his imagination,” said the Democratic candidate Daniel Biss about Rauner’s top-ten list.
Biss also reflected on Rauner’s achievements in education over an email correspondence with Chicago News.
“Bruce Rauner’s administration has been devastating for middle-class and working families,” he wrote. “By fueling the longest budget crisis in our state’s history, Rauner jeopardized funding for our neighborhood public schools, halted infrastructure projects, and shut down vital social services.”
Biss also shared with Chicago News some of his plans for the state of Illinois if elected as governor:
“When I’m governor, I’ll pass a progressive, balanced budget to fund our key priorities.
“For more than 700 days, the state of Illinois failed to pass a budget plan that would bring it out of its low credit and bond ratings. Our state has accumulated more than $16 billion dollars in unpaid bills, is running at a deficit of $6 billion according to Politico, and to top it all off, owes over $250 billion in pension debt, as reported by Illinois Policy.
“For years in the legislature, I’ve been organizing around long-term revenue solutions to ensure corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share in taxes, fighting to pass a progressive income tax, tax financial transactions, and close corporate tax loopholes like the carried interest loophole. With this additional revenue, we can overhaul our school funding formula to reduce our reliance on property taxes and make sure every student in every community gets a quality education. We can also eliminate tuition at our public colleges and universities to give everyone the opportunity to attend, guarantee universal access to healthcare by passing Medicare-for-all, create good jobs in communities that have faced disinvestment, and support other vital reforms to build a state that works for all of us.”
Biss also addressed the violence that has run rampant in Chicago in the past years. In 2016, Chicago had experienced a record number of murders and shootings, totaling to over a whopping 800 homicides. 2017 did not fare much better for the citizens of Chicago, with just under 700 homicides.
As governor, Biss promises to form policies to “prevent domestic violence and make sure survivors can access healthcare, legal assistance, and other resources without their abusers knowing.” In light of the Parkland shooting, Biss has also promised to “end the epidemic of gun violence by signing legislation to require gun dealers to be licensed, creating a lethal violence order of protection, restricting the number of guns that can be purchased within a designed timespan, and banning bump stocks, assault weapons, and high capacity magazines.”
If you’d like to see more of Biss’ plans for Illinois, check out www.mychinews.com for Chicago News’ exclusive Q&A with the Democratic candidate for the 2018 Governor’s race.