Rauner should be red-faced over meager reform ‘Blueprint’

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Silly me.

I honestly believed that when Republican Bruce Rauner stopped ducking and finally started talking substantively about what he would do if elected governor that he probably would have some ideas that deserved to be taken seriously.

After all, Rauner is supposed to be some kind of business genius (his net worth would indicate as much), and I certainly don’t discount the possibility somebody with his background could see opportunities for fixing state government that others have missed.

On top of that, he’s got all the money he needs to hire a crack research staff to help him develop a plan. Plus, at this point, he also has the full support of the Republican legislative apparatus—all itching for a chance to control Springfield again.

So I found it fairly dumbfounding on Thursday when Rauner, with three caged chickens at his side, completely laid an egg with his first attempt to show there’s some substance behind the slick campaign that won the Republican primary.

Rauner’s initial “Blueprint” on government reform and cutting waste qualified as such only from the standpoint that it was printed in blue ink.

Instead of offering real proposals about how he plans to keep his promise to “shake up” state government, Rauner cobbled together a collection of news clippings, audit findings and populist pandering that he claimed would save the state more than $1 billion a year.

Half of this savings — $500 million — is supposed to come from reforming the state’s procurement system, but Rauner didn’t offer any specifics about how he would actually achieve this savings, except for the old “increasing coordination” and “updating technology.”

He said he would eliminate unnecessary emergency procurements and sole-source contracts and then pretended that’s all savings, when the state would probably still need to make the same purchases.

Much of the rest of his plan was stuff that might sound good to people wanting to hate on state government, but wouldn’t really get you very far.

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