Despite the obvious partisan divide in Springfield, there are points of agreement among Illinois state lawmakers.

That includes things on Governor Bruce Rauner’s ‘Turnaround Agenda’ that Democrats support.

Some Democratic lawmakers and labor leaders are ok with workers comp reform to ensure employees are only covered for injuries that are job related and to limit them from doctor shopping to find favorable diagnoses.

Democrats also acknowledge pension reform is needed to deal with the $111 billion unfunded liability.

Despite those concessions, Governor Rauner says he will need more to reach a bigger budget deal during an appearance on 4 the Record. Rauner says property tax reform is still something he will push. He says he wants people in local communities to decide how they run their governments with property taxes.

On pension reform, Governor Rauner has publicly come out in support of Democratic Senate President John Cullerton’s proposal. The problem with pension reform is that the Illinois Supreme Court has rejected prior proposals as unconstitutional. That raises the bar to ensure any pension reform agreement can get by the court.

“We have bipartisan agreement on how to do it,” said Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. “All of us believe our proposal is constitutional. It’s fair. It doesn’t take away anybody’s accrued benefit.”

Congress also has the ability to intervene if federal lawmakers see fit to give state lawmakers more authority on the pension reform issue. It would require federal legislation to override the state Constitution if the state’s financial situation is considered so dire.

Rauner wouldn’t say if he supports that. He calls it a federal law question that’s not his expertise. He says it’s a balance between state’s rights issues versus federal government interference.

“It may come someday to the federal government deciding how much more to get involved,” Rauner said. “It’s a good question. I don’t know.”

Rauner openly admits there is a lot riding on the general election for control of the General Assembly in Springfield. A couple of candidates he supported lost their primary bids. Juliana Stratton beat Rep. Ken Dunkin (a Democrat who sided with Rauner at times) and incumbent Sen. Sam McCann beat primary challenger Bryce Benton (who Rauner supported).

“November is very critical,” Rauner said. “This is a time if the speaker and his supermajority get more power, reforms and less tax burden and balanced budget are going to be much harder to achieve. If we can have a legislature where both parties have a voice relatively more equal than completely one-sided, we have a chance to grow the economy more, protect taxpayers more, get term limits and redistricting reform done.”

News conferences from Springfield over the last 18 months would suggest there’s no love lost between the Governor and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. However, there’s no denying the two need each other to get anything significant done. Rauner described that relationship.

“It’s actually on a personal level, it’s perfectly fine, very cordial,” Rauner said. “We’re very candid with each other. We’re very frank. We’re very honest and direct. There’s a lot of posturing that has to go on. The reality is we have a fundamental disagreement, an honest disagreement.”

Rauner’s administration has also seen a decent amount of turnover during his first 18 months in office. The most recent being the resignation of Linda Lingle resigned as chief operating officer from a job that he created.
“We’ve had a number of people join us and a number leave,” Rauner said. “That’s part of the process. I’m very proud of our team.”

On the national political scene, Rauner has indicated he won’t be going to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. He says it’s because he’s focused on Illinois and trying to recruit new businesses. He says it has nothing to do with Donald Trump being the presumptive nominee.

“The presidential election is its own process,” Rauner said. “That’s not my concern. My concern is making Illinois’ economy competitive and growing.”

He shied away from saying whether he supports Trump’s campaign.

“I have made all my comments about the presidential election in the past. I’m not going to comment anymore,” Rauner said.