Following Gov. Bruce Rauner’s recent State of the State address in Springfield, major news organizations observed the highlights and takeaways as he reiterated remarks on continuing budget gridlock while simultaneously calling for compromise and reform.
Speaking to a joint General Assembly session, the governor focused on the necessity for both sides of the aisle to strive for unity to resolve the state’s stagnating finances, stressing that Illinois needs to improve its business climate, achieve affordable workers’ compensation and return to fiscal stability.
"All of us -- Republicans, Democrats and everyone in between -- have a moral obligation to work together to bring change,” Rauner said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “We, together, can return Illinois to a place of hope, opportunity and prosperity."
As before, Rauner called for term limits and legislative district boundary reform, both issues at the forefront of Illinois’ 2016 elections. The Chicago Tribune observed that the governor wants the citizens of Illinois to “decide these issues for themselves,” reclaiming their power, while the Sun-Times noted that Rauner overtly expressed his desire to end the era of unbalanced power in the state legislature.
Rauner commended constituents’ continued determination, expressing optimism.
“With great challenge comes great opportunity,” the Chicago Sun-Times quoted Rauner as saying. “By working together, we can overcome any obstacle. We have the best people and best location of any state in America. Through bipartisan cooperation, Illinois can once again be the economic engine of the Midwest and the home of innovation and prosperity for everyone.”
The Chicago Sun-Times picked up on Rauner’s spontaneous expression of gratitude to elected leaders for their efforts to date on achieving a budget resolution, saying that he went “off script” to convey appreciation while reminding them to stay the course.
“Thank you for working so hard to try to come together on a bipartisan basis to find a compromise, to get a truly balanced budget with changes to the system to help job creators and protect taxpayers,” the Sun-Times quoted Rauner as saying. “Please don’t give up. Please keep working. Please keep trying. The people of Illinois need you to succeed.”
The Associated Press underscored Rauner’s plea to legislators to mend the state’s broken budget. NBC Chicago concurred, with both sources noting the governor’s realistic but optimistic tone as he tackled some grim realities related to the Land of Lincoln’s current state of affairs.
Rauner also spoke of local crises -- specifically Chicago’s public school problems and crime statistics -- in comments during his speech.
"Addressing the roots of this plague will take much more: to restore hope where hope has been lost, to build a long-term future of quality education and good jobs for communities that need it most,” Rauner said, according to NBC Chicago.
NBC also reported that Rauner cited removing barriers to economic growth; eliminating decay; motivating redevelopment; and offering a wider array of choices to students as keys to resolving city issues to balance socioeconomic equity — reinstating vocational training, for example.
“We know that much in our state has been broken for many, many years, but we know that there is a way forward — there is a path to a better future for all Illinois families,” Rauner said, according to NBC.