Gov. Bruce Rauner joined Dan & Amy on Friday to discuss the reaction of legislative leaders to his State Budget Address including to his school funding proposal. Rauner also spoke about pending negotiations with AFSCME, the possibility of a state worker strike, merit pay for state workers and the elimination of unfunded mandates on local units of government.
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Dan Proft: Good morning, Dan and Amy. Amy, this is an important guest for you. Amy Jacobson: Yes, I know. Dan Proft: Not just as an Illinois resident, but as a Swede and as a finalist for your Swedish reality TV show. Amy Jacobson: Yeah. The TV show is called Allt för Sverige. Dan Proft: Of course. Amy Jacobson: You don't even say it right. Dan Proft: Yeah. Of course, of course. Everybody watches that. Amy Jacobson: And it's the #1 show in Sweden and it's all about–the premise of the show is bringing Americans and some Canadians to Sweden for the first time and then they have to go through challenges and obstacles and eat herring and lutfisk. And whoever survives then gets to meet their living relatives that they've never met before in Sweden. Dan Proft: Maybe, and maybe you could have a certain Illinois governor. The Swedish roots write you a little bit of a letter of recommendation to help put you ahead you ahead of the pack in the competition. Amy Jacobson: Yeah, it's a fierce competition. There's 2,000 people applied, they'd choose only 5. Dan Proft: Well, why don't we bring Gov. Bruce Rauner on to ask him the important questions–will you help Amy get on a Swedish reality TV show? Gov. Rauner, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it. Gov. Bruce Rauner: Good morning, Dan, good morning, Amy. How are you doing? Dan Proft: Good. Gov. Bruce Rauner: I love the sound of that show, that sounds pretty cool. Amy, are you trying to get on it? Amy Jacobson: Oh, yeah. I've made it past the first round, but we're going to be filling out a questionnaire later. Dan's going to help me on the air. Dan Proft: Yeah. Gov. Bruce Rauner: Well, I tell you, if you get through it, it's fantastic. I took my Swedish grandfather back for his 90th birthday. I have never been to Sweden. He he been writing to his relatives his whole life from Wisconsin, and he'd never been. And since he was like two-years-old, and I took him over and we spent a week, I cried every day, he was hugging these people. The average age was like, 102. And we saw the cabin where his family came from. It was fantastic. It was really fun. Dan Proft: Maybe Rauner and Jacobson on that reality TV show. What do you think? Amy Jacobson: Who's going to finish first, though? Because it is a competition and I am just a tad bit aggressive. Dan Proft: I understand, I understand. Well, governor, you gave your budget address on Wednesday in Springfield and you made Democrat legislative leaders an offer. If you want to work with me in structural reform, then great, let's get to it. If you don't, then thus with me the authority to bring the state budget into balance, and I'll do the dirty work that you don't want to do. You have any takers on that yet? Gov. Bruce Rauner: We've had a lot of silence that was mixed with criticism. These guys don’t want to do anything. Basically what they want to do is authorize more spending than we have in revenue again just like they did for the last couple of years. Well, actually, frankly, for 20 years. And then they don't want to vote for tax hike unless Republicans support the tax hike. So it's a ridiculous position that they’re. Amy Jacobson: How do you stomach this job that you're doing, and working with the man who's just so stubborn and so power-hungry? How do you sleep at night? Gov. Bruce Rauner: You know what? This is a labor of love. I love Illinois and I'm a volunteer and it's a big deal. It's a privilege for me to do it. It’s hard. It's really hard. But any important change in direction is hard. I mean, I knew it's going to be difficult. People keep saying, "Oh, it's about the budget. Stop fighting about the budget just work it out." It's not about the budget, it's about the future direction of Illinois. Are we going to stay on the track we're on with massive tax hike, deficits, unfunded pensions, job losses, lower incomes, defunding schools, or are we going to go on a different, more positive direction? That's what this fight's about. Madigan has controlled the General Assembly for decades. He likes the status quo, he doesn't want to change anything, and that's what this battle's about. Dan Proft: It seems to me that one of the things that's happening concurrent with this budget impasse is that a lot of people who maybe thought that they were protected by the power structure in its current formation and its previous formation before you were elected, that they're insulated from the pain. And that everything can burn down but they're going to be okay, and they're finding out that nobody is insulated from the pain when you have state on the trajectory you were describing. Gov. Bruce Rauner: No, that's a very messy tragedy. The people of Illinois have been not served by our government under Speaker Madigan. We've been going down a bad road for decades and it's all coming home to roost now. We have fewer jobs and we have lower family incomes than we had 17 years ago in Illinois. We have been going the wrong way. Speaker Madigan has controlled it and we've got to change that direction. If I could just negotiate with Pres. Cullerton or the mayor in Chicago, we'd fight, but we'd have it worked out. But everything I work out some sort of compromise with either one of them, Speaker Madigan comes in and says, "Nope! Don't like it, no changes." Slaps them back and we're back to square one. Amy Jacobson: You know, a lot of my lefty lady friends say that you're trying to break the unions. I try to explain to them that you're really trying to make them take concessions. Is that correct? Gov. Bruce Rauner: That's correct. Look, the unions are not going away, they're part of culture. In fact, they’ve done many good things in our society over the last 100 years. But we've got to have a balance of power. And what other states have done is where it's needed inside government taken certain things out of collective bargaining in order to protect tax payers when it was necessary. And Chicago and the Democrats in Chicago have done that for years. I'm not proposing something that's some sort of radical new extreme idea. This has already happened. We just need to do a bit more of it to get our state going in the right direction. Dan Proft: Well, Chicago Democrats have tried to take something out of collective bargaining. You out of collective bargaining. Gov. Bruce Rauner: That's true. Dan Proft: And so what's the difference? Can you give us a sense of the dynamic? We've made this point on the show. So you've negotiated contract with other labor units like the teamsters that represent smaller group of state employees than does AFSCME the largest public sector union representing state workers. You've negotiated deals with them, what's the difference between negotiating with the teamsters and negotiating with AFSCME? Gov. Bruce Rauner: See, the teamsters have to deal with reality. I mean, they're a union that did works in a lot of different environments. So they work in business. And they know what it takes to be reasonable and to work out compromises when times are tough. They've done it before. AFSCME had the run of state government. They've basically dictated terms and set everything they wanted for decades and Republican governors and Democratic governors have basically given up everything they've ever wanted for 30, 40 years. I'm the first governor who said, "No, I'm sorry folks. We can't afford another $3B in compensation for you the next four years. You're already the highest paid state of police in America.” God bless you, that's fine. But we can't have another $3B more. We've got to have state salaries stay flat for a few years. And only give merit pay increases based on productivity or saving tax payer money. And they said, "Oh no. We always got what we wanted. You're going to give it to us, governor." I said, "No, I'm sorry. I'm not." And then they said, "Well, we might have to strike." And I said, "Well, I hope you don't. Please don't. I don't want you to. But if you do, we will still keep the government running because that's my job and I know how to do that." And they said, "Oh my goodness. No governor has ever said that to us. That's not fair." And I said, "That's totally fair. That's how the law works. I'm just doing my job." And they said, "Uh-oh. You're a little too tough. Most politicians run or screaming from the room when we threaten them. We're going to have to get you out." They went to Speaker Madigan and said, "We want the governor out of the negotiation. He's too tough. He's not giving into us like everybody else always has. We want him out. Bring in a labor-friendly arbitrator to give us what we want." Speaker Madigan passed that law, I vetoed it. And we were able to keep one Democratic legislator off of it, so my veto stood. And now I can stay in the negotiation. And that is going to protect taxpayers from billions of dollars. Dan Proft: Well, if AFSCME is intent on striking if they don't get everything they want when they wanted it has been the case historically, you just described, is there going to be a Reagan and the air traffic controller’s moments, potentially? Gov. Bruce Rauner: No, I don't think so. I certainly hope not. And we will keep the government running. But I'm not trying to replace everybody, that's not my goal. My goal is to protect taxpayers had the government run well, have our state employees paid well–maybe not necessarily the highest-paid in America for the next 20 years. But very well-paid–and I want them to make more based upon–what I've said is, "I'll give you raises. I'll give you 5% of every $1 you save for taxpayers. You can make a lot more money." A lot of the employees go– "Yeah, I love that." Because they've got good ideas. The union leaders say, "No, no, no. We want seniority only. We don't want merit pay or bonuses based upon savings." So we're going to have a philosophical difference. We're going to have to work it out. Amy Jacobson: C.E.O. of CPS Forrest Claypool basically is claiming that you're a hoarding money, that you're not giving the school district what it needs. Can you get on that, please, because we have some teachers who are worried about their future? Dan Proft: Hoarding money. Gov. Bruce Rauner: It's so– Amy Jacobson: Let it go. Gov. Bruce Rauner: You can't make this stuff up. It's so ludicrous. So far as Claypool is criticizing me, that was it. The governor's defending the indefensible. He's hurting low-income children. He is protecting the status quo. The school funding formula was created by Mike Madigan and the Democrats 20 years ago. I didn't make this stuff up. And I want to change it. But what Speaker Madigan said, "It's too hard to change, I don't want to change it." Forrest Claypool should be screaming at Mike Madigan every day. Well, what did he do? He protects Madigan and he criticizes me, and I'm not even–I mean, I just got here. I'd admit I didn't put this system in place, it's a terrible system. Dan Proft: Well, they need Boogeyman to push attention away from exactly what you said, who's been in charge for all those time, who's lorded over CPS, the city of Chicago, for 100 years. And we find ourselves where we find ourselves. Gov. Bruce Rauner: Exactly. That's exactly right. Dan Proft: So on the issue of school funding, though, another important piece of your budget address was $400M more in early education funding, but you made the point a couple of times but General Assembly, you got to send me a clean bill, no games, a clean bill. What did you mean by that? Gov. Bruce Rauner: Yeah. Well, see, here's what's going on. They're trying to place games–what Pres. Cullerton, the Democratic leader of the senate has said, he's Madigan's spokesman most of the time. He basically came out and said, "I won't support funding schools this year." So schools can't open in the fall unless Chicago gets a bail out, Chicago gets a lot more money. They need more money, and I'm going to demand, Chicago gets a lot more. Otherwise, no schools are going to get their funding. And I said, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a minute, guys. That is baloney. That is not happening. No matter what, our kids come first across the state of Illinois. And we're going to have a clean education funding bill with more money from schools than we've ever had." Fully funding the foundation level more than ever in Illinois history. Schools are most important. And we're going to get them open and we're going to get their money no matter what. Dan Proft: All right. Gov. Rauner. He is going to be at Glenbard East High School. Gov. Bruce Rauner: Yup. Dan Proft: Today. Gov. Bruce Rauner: Yup. Dan Proft: This afternoon at Lombard at Glenbard East. The mascot, Amy? Amy Jacobson: Uh-huh. Dan Proft: The Rams. Amy Jacobson: Oh, excuse me. Dan Proft: The Glenbard East Rams. Come on. Amy Jacobson: The Glenbard West is The Hilltoppers. Dan Proft: That's correct. Amy Jacobson: I knew that. Dan Proft: That's very nice. So you're going to be at Glenbard East today along with State Senator Jason Barickman, State Representative Ron Sandack, to announce support for unfunded mandate legislations sponsored by those two legislators. This goes back to trying to help local units of government. Gov. Bruce Rauner: Yeah. I cut cost and school districts save money. Yeah, we're going to be at Glenbard East and Lombard this morning between 9:30 and 10:30. I'm heading out there just in a few minutes. And basically, what we're trying to do is get Springfield off of school districts' backs and let them teach the way they want to teach. We're doing a few things. One, we're getting rid of the restriction on outside contracting for non-instructional services like janitorial or maintenance or others, like transportation services. Chicago has already gotten that special exemption so that they can outside contract. Other school districts haven’t gotten that exception; we are getting that for all school districts in the state. The other thing we're doing is giving school districts more flexibility on how they teach Driver's Ed. and how they handle P.E. so that they can–athletes don't have to skip classes for P.E. they can take the classes as well as do their sports. And Driver's Ed. can be taught by outside commercial services they don't all just have to be taught strictly by the school district itself so we can save money. That's what these mandates are all about. Dan Proft: All right. Well, enjoy Bucolic DuPage County. Gov. Bruce Rauner, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it. Gov. Bruce Rauner: Thanks, Dan. Thanks, Amy. And [inaudible 00:12:52], go for it. Get over to Sweden. Have fun. Amy Jacobson: [inaudible 00:12:53]. That's for me to know and for you to find out. Dan Proft: Thank you, Gov. Rauner. Thanks. Gov. Bruce Rauner: Yeah.