Rauner says 'Illinois is in a death spiral' and looks to transition team report for solutions

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Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner speaks Friday at the Pearce Community Center in Chillicothe, Ill., on the first of a two-day tour of smaller and midsized communities ahead of his inauguration Monday in Springfield. (AP Photo/Journal Star, David Zalaznik)

Three days before he takes the reins as governor, Bruce Rauner declared “Illinois is in a death spiral.”

But the Republican businessman said Friday that he plans to review a laundry list of recommendations in a sweeping report just released by his transition team to help him “bring back Illinois.”

The report declares the state cannot prosper unless its “dismal fiscal condition” is fixed.

Unfortunately, there are no budgetary recommendations on how to do that.

“As our work on these transition strategies concludes, the work to develop the budget is just beginning. We are not in a position to provide specific recommendations on budgetary solutions, however we want to emphasize that Illinois’ ability to chart a more prosperous course hinges upon our addressing the state’s dismal fiscal condition,” the report said.

The report, prepared by soon-to-be Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti and her 28 transition team members, includes recommendations on everything from education and law enforcement to strengthening health services and information technology in the state.

It suggests the state should modernize the sales tax.

Economic goals include launching a campaign and conducting personal outreach to CEOs “to create a vision for economic development,” and for a professional marketing firm to “create Illinois’s new brand.”

The transition report echoes the bleak portrayal of the state that was a hallmark of Rauner’s campaign — but offers hopeful plans to make changes, some within the first 100 days of office.

Under “immediate actions,” the report suggests sooner rather than later changes to the state’s economy, infrastructure, energy, health and human services, law enforcement, information technology and operations.

In a statement, Rauner thanked the team and said he’s ready to work with all levels of government, business, civic leaders and residents to “bring back Illinois.”

“The state of Illinois is in a death spiral and in desperate need of a turnaround,” Rauner said. “I look forward to reviewing these recommendations to ensure my administration can hit the ground running.”

Rauner is touring the state Friday and throughout the weekend, before his inaugural ceremony in Springfield on Monday.

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