A few weeks ago, Gov. Rauner traveled around the state talking to his constituents. This paper’s editorial board and the Chicago media said he was campaigning. If updating his constituents and explaining why he’s staying strong and demanding reforms in Springfield is campaigning, then yes, we will continue to campaign for what we believe in.
Communicating with our constituents is critical. We get asked why we don’t have a deal. We don’t have a deal because the governor knows our state is so broken we need reforms to correct our course.
Some said he should have been at the negotiating table. Here’s the reality: the governor used the opportunity to talk to you all while the state legislature was on break. But also, being governor is a non-stop job. He’s constantly learning, listening, educating and negotiating.
This is what we need you to know. The decisions we make now will either set us on a course to prosperity or send us over a fiscal cliff into ruin. It’s do or die for our state.
Governor Rauner and I came into office with a clear vision to bring back Illinois. While the pundits, the press, the Springfield political class and the Madigan machine would prefer we drop our reforms, pass a tax hike and call it a day, that would be a tragic mistake. That would be nothing more than a duct-tape solution. A solution in name only, so that when election day rolls around, politicians can go back home to their districts and say they did something, when in reality all they did was raise taxes to drive more people out of the state.
Instead, we need bold reform. We need term limits and fair maps to break the power of the political machine and restore citizen control back to Illinois government. A permanent property tax freeze to stop the flood of families and businesses out of our state. Reforms to grow our economy and attract jobs back where they belong. Real spending cuts and pension reform to finally balance our budget. And more school funding to make sure that every child gets the education they deserve.
Some say a budget and reform should be separate, but that’s just a political talking point from those who only want to raise your taxes. Until we restore citizen control over our broken political system and grow our economy, we will never have balanced budgets. Only structural change like term limits will force politicians to care about us and not their next election. Only real reform will grow the economy to expand our tax base and bring in more revenue.
The political machine that runs Illinois has never proposed reform, and they have blocked votes on ours. The only thing they’ve proposed is a tax hike. That’s by design. Mike Madigan and the political class knows that if reform passes, they will lose the broken status quo they profit from. So instead, they propose duct-tape solutions like unbalanced budgets and tax increases and hope that the people aren’t paying attention.
But I have a message for the political machine – it won’t work. For decades the machine has used this playbook to deceive, but we’ve caught on to their schemes. Governor Rauner and I are standing strong for the bold reforms we need to get Illinois back on track.
Illinois is at a fork in the road, and it’s time to choose a path. We can either choose tax increases and unbalanced budgets disguised as duct-tape solutions, or bold reform to restore power back to the people of Illinois. The future of our state is at stake. Let’s make the right choice.
Evelyn Sanguinetti, a Republican, is the 47th and current lieutenant governor of Illinois.