Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza speaks to the City Club in Chicago Monday March 20, 2017 and blasts Gov. Bruce Rauner’s handling of state finances.
Democratic state Comptroller Susana Mendoza kept up her attacks on Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday, saying he has failed to fulfill his duties and has left Illinois "in the midst of the worst fiscal crisis in its history."
And Rauner again accused Mendoza and other Democrats of working toward a government shutdown to "force a tax hike."
The two officials have been locked in an acrimonious public back-and-forth since Mendoza beat Rauner-appointed Leslie Geissler Munger in a special election for comptroller last fall. The comptroller nodded to that dynamic early in her remarks to the City Club of Chicago on Monday.
"I’m guessing some of you — it’s a full crowd — so I’m thinking maybe some of you bought your tickets because you thought you might see some fireworks or something," Mendoza said. "Maybe you thought I’d show up to criticize the governor. But I have no intention of doing that."
She said instead she would give Rauner credit "for some of the positive things he’s accomplished." Then, Mendoza pulled out a sheet of paper with "this page intentionally left blank" printed on it. Mendoza went on to hammer Rauner, saying he has failed to offer a full state budget and has caused the financial mess that has left some health care providers and other vendors unable to provide essential services.
Illinois has operated without a comprehensive spending plan since July 2015 as Rauner and Democrats who control the General Assembly remain locked in a historic stalemate.
At a separate event later, Rauner reiterated his theory that Mendoza is trying to use the state checkbook she controls in the budget battle.
"The comptroller is working with others to create a crisis," Rauner said. "It’s clear they’re working to create a crisis, shut down the government, cause a crisis and then force a tax hike or more stopgaps that’ll force a tax hike later without any changes. That’s what’s going on."
And the governor said Democrats were to blame for the logjam at the Capitol.
"Why can’t we get the Thompson Center sold? Why can’t we get the managed lanes done?" Rauner said, referring to his proposals to sell the State of Illinois Building in the Loop and to create new toll lanes on a congested portion of the Stevenson Expressway. "Why can’t we get a property tax freeze? Everything that I’ve recommended has overwhelming support by Democrats in the state as well as Republicans."
Rauner said Democrats should offer their own ideas if they don’t like his.
Talking to reporters after her speech, Mendoza said to expect more jabs for now.
"He needs to stand up and protect the most vulnerable people in this state," she said. "I don’t have high hopes that he’s going to do that. It certainly has not been his record to date. But, you know, I’m not going to be quiet while this is going on. While he continues to dig a deeper and deeper hole for our state, my job is to stand up and be a voice for all these people across the state of Illinois who are suffering. And he may not like that I’m exercising my vocal cords as much as I am lately, but I’m going to continue to speak up, and even be louder about ringing this bell of alarm."
In addition to becoming one of Rauner’s loudest public critics, Mendoza controls the state’s checkbook. That puts her in a position to make things tougher for the governor at a time Illinois doesn’t have enough cash to pay everyone owed money. Last week, she suspended $27 million in funding the governor wanted to use to upgrade the state’s technology systems. Mendoza asked why money should go to computers when social service providers have gone months without money from the state.
This article was sourced from http://mathnews.net