Pritzker blames predecessor for ruining Illinois' finances - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Pritzker blames predecessor for ruining Illinois' finances

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WSIL -- Gov. JB Pritzker will deliver his first budget address later this month and he's blaming the former governor for putting Illinois in an awful situation.

Pritzker's administration released a report Friday detailing the financial mess Illinois is in-- and how Bruce Rauner plays a role.

Governor Pritzker's office says Illinois faces a budget deficit of $3.2 billion, 16 percent more than the Rauner administration predicted in November.

There's also billions worth of unpaid bills, something Pritzker blames on Rauner and the budget impasse.

Pritzker says Illinois is paying $14.5 billion for costs associated with the state's unpaid bills.

The unpaid bills alone total $7.9 billion, and then there's billions of dollars worth of borrowing, along with $500 million for raises owed to union workers that also went unpaid during Rauner's term.

Pritzker's deputy governor, former comptroller Dan Hynes, detailed the financial mess in a report called "Digging Out: The Rauner Wreckage Report".

As you could guess from the title, Pritzker's administration blames his predecessor for the issues Illinois faces.

The report cites how much the budget deficit grew during Rauner's tenure: a little more than $5 billion when he took office to a high of more than $16.6 billion in 2017 before refinancing with bond sales helped bring it down to $7.8 billion.

That's still $2.9 billion more than when Rauner took office and it would only grow if the upcoming year's budget deficit goes unaddressed.

"Four years of failure and ideological warfare in Illinois state government created a mess that will take years to put behind us," Hynes said in the report.

The end of Pritzker's report says his first budget will put Illinois on a path forward to fiscal stability but it stopped short of saying just how he plans to do that.

His budget address is scheduled for Feb. 20.

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