MOLINE, Illinois – Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says the stopgap budget compromise between his Administration and legislative Democrats is a good first step.
His optimistic assessment comes as the Republican governor sat down with News 8's Jim Mertens to talk about the six month budget agreement, pension reforms, and the failure to reach a "grand bargain" with lawmakers by the July 1st budget deadline.
Gov. Rauner says he can claim victory in the compromise because he says he stopped Speaker Michael Madigan's planned "$7.5 billion unbalance budget", he prevented school funding plans that benefit the cash-strapped Chicago School District over other districts in the state, and he believes pension reform can be accomplished as negotiations continue over the next six months.
The governor also says he's investing more in education than Democratic leaders proposed.
"I got more money for schools last year, I got even more money this year, and schools will always come first for me," said Gov. Rauner.
"You're going to get more resources."
The governor lays much of the blame on Democratic rule in both the legislature and in the Governor's mansion before him.
"That's why we've got to change the system", said Gov. Rauner.
"Democracy doesn't work in a one-party basis and for 12-years prior to my becoming Governor we had a Governor who was in the same party as Speaker (Michael) Madigan and they were almost competing with each other to see who could create bigger deficits with more spending," he said.