Rauner to highlight efficiencies in State of the State speech

 
 
Updated 1/27/2016 4:55 AM
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  • Gov. Bruce Rauner delivered his first State of the State address Feb. 4 last year at the Capitol in Springfield. This year he will aim to find common ground with Democrats -- a tall order.

    Gov. Bruce Rauner delivered his first State of the State address Feb. 4 last year at the Capitol in Springfield. This year he will aim to find common ground with Democrats -- a tall order. Associated Press

In the days leading up to Gov. Bruce Rauner's state of the State address Wednesday, a chorus of union leaders, lawmakers and caretakers have begged for a resolution to Illinois' historically long budget war.

He's set to give a speech that could unveil a new economic development initiative and try to find some common ground with Democrats on public pension cuts, school funding and government efficiencies, including changing how the state pays for human services that have suffered during the stalemate.

"Historically, the state has spent most of its resources -- tens of billions of dollars -- on a broken patchwork of reactive, expensive, and ineffective interventions," Rauner is set to say, according to prepared remarks.

Here's what you need to know:

How to watch

Rauner is set to give the speech at noon Wednesday in the Illinois House chamber. Video will be streamed live online at the state's website, http://multimedia.illinois.gov/gov/sots-012716.html, a spokeswoman says.

Another try

Rauner is likely to push once again for pro-business proposals that have put him at odds with Democrats.

Democrats say those ideas, including imposing term limits, limiting the power of unions and freezing property taxes, shouldn't be part of the state budget negotiations.

"The governor has failed in one of the most important responsibilities, negotiating and enacting a state budget that works for everyone, no matter where you are at on the economic ladder," Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan said.

Rauner is set to present a new budget plan in three weeks during another speech to lawmakers even as last year's spending plan remains undone.

The conflict

The budget dispute has dominated state politics for months and will likely be on viewers' minds.

The seven-month budget standoff with Democrats who control the legislature has caused cuts to social service and higher-education programs and plunged the state further into debt. Neither side is budging. Democrats say a tax increase is necessary to close a multibillion-dollar budget hole.

Rauner maintains he won't support a tax increase without the changes making it easier for businesses to operate in Illinois.

Rauner also might focus on steps he's taking to make government more efficient, such as improving Illinois' 1970s-era computer systems by consolidating all agencies' information technology functions into one department.

• The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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