Last year, gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner pledged to "crack down on waste" in government in order to save taxpayers over $140 million. He also vowed to cut $500 million from the Illinois Department of Central Management Services and find another $250 million in Medicaid savings.
Very little of that has happened to date, as the governor himself inadvertently admitted during a speech last week in the southern Cook County suburbs.
Instead of saving $500 million at CMS, for example, Rauner touted just $15 million in savings, mainly from grounding the state's fleet of airplanes - although that doesn't take into consideration the cost of paying mileage reimbursements for all those folks who can no longer fly.
The governor identified a grand total of $107 million in what he said are savings he's found this year, but most came from cuts at the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, and people I've talked to aren't buying those numbers because some major state cost controls have been allowed to expire. He also failed to mention that he vetoed a bill that the Democrats say would've resulted in $400 million in DHFS savings - far more than his own stated campaign goal and lots more than the $70 million he claims to have actually saved.
Governor Rauner also bemoaned the lack of a budget and the myriad court orders which are forcing state spending at last fiscal year's levels. "I can't control" the court orders, the governor said. That's true, but the governor could try negotiating with the stakeholders and the courts to come up with more affordable orders. He's not a complete victim.
And, of course, he repeatedly complained that the Democratic General Assembly hasn't allowed votes on a single one of his Turnaround Agenda items.
He has a right to complain, but he's not a legislator and needs to eventually realize that he can't pass bills on his own.