Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s budget proposal is the gift that keeps on giving.
Or, perhaps more accurately, the gift that keeps on taking.
Though few details were spoken during last Wednesday’s speech outlining the Rauner spending plan, some specifics emerged, to the great concern of many.
Now, even more is being learned. The folks at the lower end of the economic scale had better hold on to their hats, along with their coats and their boots.
To plug a budget hole of more than $6 billion, he’s proposing to snatch $265 million furnished by ratepayers in the form of surcharges on their utility bills. The money Rauner is targeting helps low-income households pay their heating bills and makes affordable rental units and public buildings more energy-efficient.
According to Crain’s the governor plans to propose a change in law that will allow him to take money the utility companies set aside for the intended purposes and put it in the general revenue fund.
Advocates for those living on low and/or fixed incomes are outraged.
“Letting poor people freeze is not an acceptable solution to saving money,” says Bob Gallo, state director for AARP Illinois. “To even think so is reprehensible.” He speculated that Rauner is “playing a game of (budgetary) chicken with the General Assembly. Playing chicken, with people who are struggling and suffering in the middle, is not the kind of conversation we need.”
It’s good to remember that the governor needs legislators to vote for his bad ideas in order for them to become law.
Stay connected to IEA as the legislative session unfolds. Be prepared to act to stop bad legislation and support real solutions to the very real problems facing Illinois.