December 1, 2016
To the Honorable Members of
The Illinois Senate,
99th General Assembly:
Today I return Senate Bill 2822, which
would give $215,000,000 to Chicago Public Schools without having reached
agreement on comprehensive pension reforms for the State and local governments.
In June we agreed on a six-month
funding bridge to a balanced budget with structural and economic reforms.
Democrat leaders were clear at that time that an agreement to end the budget
impasse was not possible before the election. Although disappointed, we came
together to fund schools and critical government operations until legislative
leaders were willing to reengage in serious, good faith negotiations.
As a precondition to funding schools
statewide, Democrats proposed a $700 million State bailout of CPS. We
eventually agreed to provide CPS with $215,000,000 – the estimated amount of
its Fiscal Year 2017 employer normal pension cost – but only if we came
together to pass comprehensive pension reform. Without reforms to solve our
structural problems, taxpayer money would continue to be wasted on bailout
The agreement was clear: Republicans
supported Senate Bill 2822 only on condition that Democrats reengage in
serious, good faith negotiations; and President Cullerton and Leader Radogno
filed motions to reconsider the bill, which would keep the bill in the General
Assembly until a pension reform agreement was reached.
The election is over. 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. Still, President Cullerton withdrew his motion to
reconsider the bill, ruled that Leader Radogno’s motion was inapplicable, and
presented the bill to me for approval or veto – forcing me to take action. Then
today, President Cullerton suddenly denied that the leaders had agreed that
this bill would depend upon first enacting comprehensive pension reform.
Breaking our agreement undermines our effort to end the budget impasse and
enact reforms with bipartisan support.
The taxpayers of Illinois want a
balanced budget. That can only be done if we address the structural imbalances
that have bankrupted the State and CPS alike and drain resources that should be
spent on other priorities, like improving schools and funding social services.
The taxpayers of Illinois do not want just another bailout. Let’s get back to
work to end the budget impasse and put Illinois on the right track once and for
Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of
Article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return Senate Bill 2822
entitled “AN ACT concerning public employee benefits”, with the foregoing
objections, vetoed in its entirety.