Kirk Backs Rauner in Budget Impasse
John Gregory -- Illinois Radio Network
While some Republicans have begun to criticize Gov. Bruce Rauner's demands in the budget battle, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk isn't among them.
Kirk has close political ties to Rauner, being a staunch supporter of his campaign and having several former aides now working in Rauner's administration. Kirk says he's heard concerns about the state defaulting on its debt due to the impasse, and says he's tried to put those fears to rest by talking up Rauner.
"When I was in New York, I get a lot of people asking about when is Illinois going to default, and they were asking questions about an inevitability about some sort of financial collapse here," Kirk said. "I wanted to make sure people that knew that we had a reformist governor, and if his reforms go through, we would have a much better financial shot."
While he's supporting Rauner's proposals, Kirk also shares concerns about services provided by state government being cut off due to the budget stalemate.
"I think Gov. Rauner has got to put forward a solid reform package that says that the Illinois government will be able to do what he has to do most," Kirk said.
Kirk defines those priorities as funding for road construction, law enforcement, and state prisons.
Recently, Rauner's stance has been publicly criticized by several prominent members of his own party, such as former Gov. Jim Edgar, who accused Rauner of "holding the budget hostage" in trying to get his legislative agenda passed.