PEORIA — Gov. Bruce Rauner repeatedly emphasized his persistence in the more than two-year-long fight over the state budget during a visit to a Peoria business Tuesday.
It was one of many themes the first-term governor reiterated from his standard stump speech in the political rally at Brewers Distributing, where he talked up the need for a permanent spending plan alongside key planks of his reform platform that Rauner wants lawmakers to address.
Included in that list: property tax relief, pension reform, higher funding for education, government consolidation and term limits.
He criticized lawmakers for discussing another potential stopgap budget, saying that doing so would be "just taping over our problems — duct taping cracks in our system," a reference to a recent series of commercials his campaign has released with him criticizing such "duct tape" repairs.
On that score, Rauner called on the crowd of about 50 to reach out to their elected officials. Leaving out direct mention of the state House — where he has feuded at great length on many fronts with longtime Speaker Michael Madigan — he showered praise on Democrats and Republicans in the Senate for trying to achieve a grand bargain on budget and reform issues.
"They're working on the right issues, but they're not there yet," he said. "We need to all come together and push them to get a deal that's actually good for taxpayers and good for growing the economy."
Initial efforts on such "grand bargain" legislation appeared thwarted earlier in the spring legislative session, but work has still been ongoing behind the scenes to craft a deal.
Though he didn't cite the legislation or sponsor by name, Rauner did also allude, while listing a series of reforms he'd like to see, to legislation sponsored by state Rep. Ryan Spain, R-Peoria, that would allow volunteers to do some maintenance and upkeep work in state parks.
That measure, House Bill 3455, passed the House unanimously last week and awaits a hearing in the Senate. It was inspired in part by the stymied efforts of a local equestrian group to repair and maintain trails at Jubilee College State Park.
Chris Kaergard covers politics and government. He can be reached at email@example.com or 686-3255. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisKaergard.