Tags: Bruce Rauner | Illinois | unions | right-to-work

Illinois Gov. Rauner Takes on Unions, Vows to Revive Struggling State

Image: Illinois Gov. Rauner Takes on Unions, Vows to Revive Struggling State
Gov. Bruce Rauner, R-Ill. (John Gress/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 05 Feb 2015 11:34 AM

As the power of labor continues to wane and more states embrace right-to-work laws, Illinois' Republican governor did not hesitate to take on such issues in his first State of the State address, The New York Times reported.

Gov. Bruce Rauner called for the economically struggling state to embrace "right-to-work" laws at the local government level and also called for a ban on certain political contributions from labor — both ideas from the right that drew, according to the Times, a "remarkably muted" reaction from Democrats who control the Illinois statehouse.

Noted Rauner to state lawmakers on Wednesday, according to the Times: "Government unions should not be allowed to influence the public officials they are lobbying, and sitting across the bargaining table from, through campaign donations and expenditures."

He also noted that the ban on contributions "should also apply to groups like hospitals that receive state grants," the Times said.

Rauner is Illinois' first Republican governor in 12 years and a first-time officeholder after years of leading a private equity firm. He takes over after what observers say has been decades of corruption and with a state in dire financial straits.

His call for reform was moderate in comparison to those led by governors in nearby states like Michigan and Indiana, where right-to-work laws that have ended collective bargaining have jarred big labor, the Times said.

In an editorial Thursday, however, the Chicago Tribune praised Rauner's aggressive speech, noting he "is on record with an agenda to make Illinois competitive again."

Added the paper, which called his plan a "growth manifesto": "We've waited a long time for an Illinois governor to voice many of these proposals as if he means them. The question now is whether lawmakers, the majority of them Democrats, will join a Republican governor in fixing Illinois or will try to block reforms that represent a sharp new way of doing the business of government."

In addition to labor reforms, Rauner called for amending the state's constitution to offer "permanent pension relief," as the state attempts to repair the nation's worst-funded pension system, Yahoo! reported.

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Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner called for the economically struggling state to embrace "right-to-work" laws at the local government level and also called for a ban on certain political contributions from labor.
Bruce Rauner, Illinois, unions, right-to-work
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2015-34-05
Thursday, 05 Feb 2015 11:34 AM
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