Rauner: No good excuse for lack of state budget

 
 
Updated 1/25/2016 12:57 PM
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  • Sen. Christine Radogno and Gov. Bruce Rauner speaking to reporters last week.

    Sen. Christine Radogno and Gov. Bruce Rauner speaking to reporters last week. Photo Courtesy Chicago Sun-Times

Days before he's set to give his State of the State address, Gov. Bruce Rauner said there's "no good excuse" for the lack of a state budget leading to widespread cuts to social services by one of the state's biggest agencies.

On Friday, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois announced the closure of 30 programs throughout the state, including mental health counseling programs offered in Des Plaines, Elmhurst, Downers Grove, Prospect Heights, Wheaton and Villa Park.

"There is really no good excuse for the tragic loss of those kinds of services," Rauner said. "It's inexcusable for us not to have a budget by now."

But Rauner continues to take heat for the stalemate from Democrats, who say Rauner's stubbornness on making a budget contingent on what he calls his Turnaround Agenda led to cuts.

"For the governor to allow these programs to wither away is simply deplorable," Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said in a statement over the weekend. "Without Lutheran's diversion programs, my Cook County jail population will rise, costing taxpayers significantly more in both the short term and long term."

Rauner pointed the blame at Democrats, who won't agree to some of Rauner's proposals they see as striking at the heart of their party by weakening unions.

"We're not gonna back down on it," Rauner said. "We're not gonna give in on it."

Rauner made the comments at a news conference intended to promote the creation of a new agency to handle the state's computer systems. He said the move won't cost money because it's a reorganization of existing duties.

Last year, Rauner signed an executive order to try to direct the state's Central Management Agency to post local government employee salary data online.

A year later, it hasn't been done, and a spokeswoman for the agency told the Daily Herald this month that they're trying to upgrade their computer systems to make it happen.

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