CHICAGO Dec 1 Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner
vetoed on Thursday a bill to give the Chicago Public School
(CPS) a one-time $215 million state payment to help cover the
district's escalating pension costs.
The Republican governor said Democrats reneged on a June
deal that tied the bill's enactment to the legislature's passage
of comprehensive pension reform, which has yet to gain any
traction in the fall legislative session scheduled to end on
Cash-strapped CPS included the money in its $5.46 billion
fiscal 2017 operating budget.
The nation's third-largest public school system is
struggling with pension payments that will jump to about $720
million this fiscal year from $676 million in fiscal 2016, as
well as drained reserves and debt dependency.
Following a meeting earlier on Thursday with Rauner and
other legislative leaders, Democratic Senate President John
Cullerton told reporters there was no definitive agreement tied
to the bill. He also said his chamber would attempt to override
a veto of the bill.
"Breaking our agreement undermines our effort to end the
budget impasse and enact reforms with bipartisan support,"
Rauner said in his veto message.
Illinois is limping through its second straight year without
a complete budget. It also lacks a plan to curb a huge $130
billion unfunded pension liability in the wake of an Illinois
Supreme Court ruling that found the state constitution prohibits
pension benefit cuts for public sector workers.
"Despite my repeated request for daily negotiations and hope
to reach a comprehensive agreement by the end of next week, we
are no closer to ending the impasse or enacting pension reform,"
A stopgap budget approved in June expires at the end of this
Early on Thursday, Rauner used a Facebook post to denounce
Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan for pushing for another
stopgap budget that would not include reforms long-sought by the
"I informed the speaker that the only way that I could
possibly accept another stopgap spending plan is if we include
two powerful bipartisan reforms with it - term limits and a
permanent property tax freeze," Rauner said.
Madigan, who has resisted the inclusion of the governor's
reforms in a budget deal, later told reporters the idea of a
stopgap budget originated with the Rauner Administration.
"I'm suggesting a budget," he said.
(Reporting by Karen Pierog; editing by Diane Craft)