Rauner says stopgap budget is a step toward long-term solutions

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MOLINE, Illinois -

As Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner greets local officials at Cafe Fresh on Tuesday, he sees a brighter short-term future for his state.

"We stopped Speaker Madigan's super majority from passing a $7 billion, out of balance, budget," he said.  "That was huge.  We're spending much less than what's in that budget. That's a big deal."

In the Quad Cities, the six-month deal keeps road construction moving and continues big plans for the future.

"Passenger rail is in the budget," said Janet Mathis, executive director of Renew Moline.

The deal also prevents local projects from uncertain stoppages.

"When you shut something down, it takes people out of jobs," she continued.  "You may not be able to get them back right away.  The fact that we were able to keep and continue them was crucial."

Gov. Rauner calls a full year of education funding more than just a Chicago bail-out.

"I work for the kids in the Quad Cities, too," he said.  "I wanted all schools to get a little bit more money, a little more affordable money.  That's what we did."

But at this stop, there are also reminders about the temporary budget.

Both Republicans and Democrats didn't get all they wanted with the six-month deal.

While the Western Illinois Area Agency on Aging faced closing in September, the stopgap budget is just a short-term solution.

"In January, we could be in the same situation where we have to determine how much funding we have," said Executive Director Barb Eskildsen.  "We may have to close again."

Gov. Rauner says his "Turnaround Agenda" is crucial for long-term success.

"We can't have a balanced budget unless we grow more jobs to expand our tax base," he said.

He'll continue to push for property tax, regulation and pension reforms.

He's also pushing for political term limits.

"Frankly, we need a political system that works more for the people," he said.

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