In one fell swoop, Gov. Bruce Rauner reversed seven 11th-hour executive orders signed by outgoing Gov. Pat Quinn, declaring they were not in the best interest of Illinois residents.
That includes an executive order that called for Rauner to release all of his tax information as well as one that increased the minimum wage for state contracts from $8.25 an hour to $10 an hour. Both of the issues were sticking points in a bruising campaign between the two men in 2014.
“It is clear that too many of Pat Quinn’s actions during his final weeks in office were in an effort to settle political scores and not wholly aimed at serving the public’s interest,” said Rauner spokesman Lance Trover.
Trover added that the administration would consider reimplementing the orders on a case-by-case basis.
Quinn’s last-minute flurry of executive action on Monday, hours before he was to leave office, drew immediate criticism.
One Republican legislator accused the outgoing Democrat of “rank bitterness in his endeavors.”
“There’s a bunch of booby traps he left behind, leading to one reasonable conclusion: he was trying to stick it to Rauner on the way out,” state Rep. Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove, at the time.
Quinn’s executive order on tax returns was clearly directed squarely at Rauner.
It would have forced future governors to make public all tax information, including supporting documents and schedules. During the campaign. Rauner, a wealthy venture capitalist, refused to release accompanying schedules showing details at how he paid his taxes — a decision that Quinn and other Democrats sought to exploit.
The minimum-wage issue also dogged Rauner during the campaign. After some initial confusion over his position, the Republican repeatedly said he didn’t want the wage raised without accompanying business reforms.
Despite any potential political blowback, Rauner signaled earlier in the week that he wasn’t going to abide by any of Quinn’s parting orders.
“My bias is to take action to undo pretty much everything Gov. Quinn did since the election, because every time we look, most of it’s bad,” Rauner said on Thursday. “But we’ll deal with that in due course. We’ve got to review everything, and we’ll take appropriate actions.”
But “due course” turned out to be late Friday afternoon, the traditional time politicians try to bury actions that could be political unpopular.