Gov.-elect Rauner’s message to Quinn, Legislature: Whoa!

SHARE Gov.-elect Rauner’s message to Quinn, Legislature: Whoa!

In his first news conference since Tuesday’s election, Republican Governor-elect Bruce Rauner had a message for the state Legislature:

Do not proceed without me.

Rauner lay down the gauntlet, making clear he believed it would be “very inappropriate” for state lawmakers — or Gov. Pat Quinn — to tackle weighty issues during the lame duck session.

On Tuesday, Rauner became the first Republican headed to the governor’s mansion since former Gov. George Ryan left office in 2003. His swearing-in isn’t until mid-January.

“I hope that there will be no real significant action taken during the lame duck and with a governor on the way out.  I hope that anything of significance to be addressed can wait until mid-January so we can all deal with it together on a bipartisan basis,” Rauner said when asked how he planned to tackle an expiring income tax hike that is now helping fill a budget hole.

“Because the impact of major decisions can be so lasting and can have such a dramatic change on the future of the state, to have those decisions made by folks who are on their way out of office, in their last few days in office — that would be very inappropriate.”

Rauner had campaigned on a promise to reduce the state’s income tax over time to 3 percent and in the later days of the race, pressed Quinn on whether he would attempt to raise the tax if he weren’t elected. 

RELATED: WATCH: Bruce Rauner’s plans for Illinois, in 23 seconds Shall Ill. increase min wage by Jan. 1? Rauner votes yes. Says no

In conceding on Wednesday, however, Quinn made clear he would leave that issue, as well as the next year’s budget, up to Rauner and the Legislature.  But the outgoing governor also said he plans to push for a raise in the minimum wage.

“I really look forward to working with the Legislature in the time I have left as governor to get that job done,” Quinn said on Wednesday.

Senate President John Cullerton’s spokesman John Patterson said Cullerton had been clear on the extension of the temporary income tax increase.

“He expects that to expire Jan. 1 as law and then the debate will pick up afterwards,” Patterson said.

As for tackling other major issues, Patterson said Cullerton planned to meet with members in coming days “to get a feel” for what legislation members were interested in pursuing.

As far as attempting to raise the minimum wage, Patterson said: “Those would all be conversations to have with the members to see what they’re interested in doing.”

Steve Brown, spokesman for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, reiterated that.

“I think if there’s support for any particular proposal the Legislature should act,” Brown said.

Rauner made the comments as he announced his transition team on Thursday, addressing the public for the first time since he clinched the governor’s race on Tuesday.

Rauner tapped a transition team that includes former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, former Gov. Jim Edgar, the Rev. James Meeks and the Rev. Corey Brooks, among others he said hoped would help turn the tide in Illinois.

Rauner said he sought to represent diversity on the team. His lieutenant governor, Evelyn Sanguinetti, will spearhead the committee.

“We are committed to assembling the most talented team of leaders that has ever been assembled to turn around state government anywhere in America,” Rauner said. “We are calling on our fellow citizens in Illinois, please, those of you who are willing to serve, please step forward.

“We are looking for experts in the fields of finance, operations, technology, pensions, health care. We have major challenges in Illinois and we look forward to taking those challenges head on.”

Rauner said he expected to also appoint a committee to look into ways to reduce the property tax burden in the state as well as create more equitable education funding.

Rauner stressed his goal to make Illinois “compassionate” and “competitive” — a mantra he first expressed in his victory speech on Election Night.

“Our solutions will be bipartisan. I believe we have a mandate from this election to provide bipartisan solutions. For the first time in many years we have a Republican governor, we have a Democratic Legislature,” he said. “Our mission is not to bicker. It is not to waste time arguing, finding petty faults. Our mission is to serve the people, all the people of Illinois.”

Rauner — who during the campaign vilified Quinn, Madigan and Cullerton for a combined 100 years in politics —  tapped Daley, whose father and brother were Chicago’s two longest-serving mayors with a combined tenure of more than 43 years in City Hall.

Daley, who once served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce, said he was “thrilled” to help Rauner through the transition.

“Bruce’s love for Illinois and his competitive drive can make it great once again, the second to none,” Daley said. “But so is his compassion to those, as he stated, who are less fortunate than us. Those are two qualities everyone wants in a governor.”


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