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Pension reform urged in budget address

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner today urged the Illinois General Assembly to make comprehensive pension reforms and use the savings to give the people of Illinois a nearly $1 billion tax break. The prompt came during the governor’s annual budget address to legislators where he laid out his fiscal plan for 2019.

The plan Rauner submitted will produce a surplus provided legislators agree to contain expenses and shift responsibility for paying local pension costs.

“If we can agree on the fiscal framework set out in our FY19 budget,” Rauner said, “we will plug a $2 billion hole in the state’s pocketbook, avoid new taxes, fund top priorities, and start the long process of paying down our bill backlog with cash instead of credit.”

The FY19 surplus budget does not bank on the so-called consideration model for state pensions. But the governor challenged legislators to adopt the model and cut Illinois taxes by nearly $1 billion.

“Let’s make these reforms to grow the economy faster and make the Amazons and Apples of the world take notice,” Rauner said.

“Our FY19 budget sets out to make the structural reforms that will get us moving in the right direction,” he continued. “It reduces government expense but not customer service. It shifts responsibility for the cost of services to the people who buy those services. And it recognizes that we will never have balanced budgets if government grows faster than our economy.”

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