Rauner plans property-tax freeze bill, term limits resolutions

SHARE Rauner plans property-tax freeze bill, term limits resolutions

Gov. Bruce Rauner. | AP

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Thursday plans to announce a property-tax freeze bill and term limits resolutions — two key reforms he said he needs to agree to a stopgap budget.

Rauner announced his plans via a video on his Facebook page Thursday morning, calling on Democrats to work on a full-year balanced budget with reforms, instead of a stopgap budget, which the state has been running on since July.

But Rauner told legislative leaders Wednesday that he’d consider a partial budget only if term limits and a permanent property tax freeze were included.

In the two-minute video, Rauner called Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s refusal to talk about reforms and push for another stopgap budget “unacceptable.” Rauner also brought up Madigan’s comment last December that the state income-tax rate should be raised back to at least 5 percent to help the state’s finances. Rauner has said he’ll support a tax hike only if it comes with reforms.

“More deficit spending would be a failure for the people of Illinois. It would force more job creators out of the state and force an even bigger tax hike in the future,” Rauner said in the video. “I’ve informed the speaker that the only way that I could possibly accept another stopgap spending plan is if we include two powerful bipartisan reforms with it: term limits and a permanent property-tax freeze. These two reforms would let job creators know that it it is a new day in Illinois, and that long term, it will be a better place to invest.”

The Rauner-backed bill would freeze property-tax levies for all units of government and give communities local control of their property taxes through referendum. More local control of bargaining is one of the governor’s sought-after goals. Under the bill, local communities would be able to control their property taxes directly, the governor’s office said.

The term limits resolution would allow voters to decide in the 2018 election whether to adopt term limits. Legislators would be limited to 10 years in the Illinois General Assembly, and Rauner and other constitutional officers would be limited to eight years.

After a leaders meeting Wednesday, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said term limits are of “great interest to the governor.” He also indicated that Senate President John Cullerton would be willing to work with the governor on term limits.

Republican leaders have painted a divide between Cullerton and Madigan but have noted it’s possible the leaders are playing “good cop, bad cop.”

Madigan has said he doesn’t support Rauner’s reforms and wants to work strictly on a budget.

Asked whether term limits would strip away experience in the Legislature, Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno said Wednesday that a term limits proposal would change the perception of Illinois politics.

Legislators are in session for the last day on Thursday, unless a special election is called. The state will run out of spending authority come the end of the year.

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