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Rauner warns Illinois Democrats of ‘long extra session’

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Bruce Rauner is warning Illinois lawmakers they should “expect a very long extra session” if they don’t approve some of his legislative priorities.

The Republican published an opinion column Thursday in The (Springfield) State Journal-Register.

He notes the May 31 deadline for the Legislature to pass a new state budget and adjourn its spring session is fast approaching. Rauner says he won’t consider approving a tax increase to help fill a $6 billion budget deficit unless legislators pass “major reforms” he wants.

Among Rauner’s priorities are reducing the cost of workers’ compensation insurance, stripping power from labor unions and term limits.

From a portion of Rauner’s op/ed:

Democrats who control the Legislature say Rauner’s agenda would hurt working people. It’s prompted a standoff over the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Merely raising taxes will kick the can, not solve the problem. We need to shake up the old ways of running state government. We must end the special-interest deals that drive up costs inside government and wreck current and future budgets. We must reform anti-growth policies that make Illinois unable to compete with other states for good-paying jobs.

We must deliver true pension reform that protects what’s been earned, but in the future provides state workers with benefits that are more in line with the taxpayers who pay for them. We should not allow voting districts to be drawn just to protect incumbents.

And we must make term limits a reality, helping to ensure elected office is about public service, not personal gain.