CHICAGO - Illinois Governor-elect Bruce Rauner urged state lawmakers not to make any major legislative decisions until he is sworn into office along with a new General Assembly.
The message he sent to lawmakers during his first post-election news conference -- after unveiling his transition team -- will have little impact on the debate over the future of temporary income tax increases that begin to expire on Jan. 1.
Gov. Pat Quinn said during his brief concession speech that he would leave budget decisions to his successor and lawmakers.
Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, has said lawmakers will not act on the tax rates during the veto session that begins later this month when a higher vote threshold is needed, or during a lame-duck session in January when a simple majority is needed for most measures. Rauner is sworn in Jan. 12.
"I hope that anything of significance to be addressed can wait until mid-January so we can all deal with it together on a bipartisan basis," Rauner said when asked about the income tax rates. "The impact of major decisions can be so lasting and can have such a dramatic change on the future of the state, to have those decisions made by folks who are on their way out of office, in their last few days in office, that would be very inappropriate."
Quinn had pressed lawmakers to make permanent the 2011 temporary income tax hike. Lawmakers refused to take action on the rates with the election looming but also opted against cutting the fiscal 2015 budget, balancing it with one-shot actions and underfunding some services.
Rauner has said he wants to phase out the higher income tax rates, but has hedged on offering more details on the timing and he offered no additional detail during the news conference.
Rauner's position sets the stage for his first potential conflict with Democrats who hold a veto-proof majority in the General Assembly, as Quinn wants lawmakers to tackle a minimum wage increase before his exit.
"I really look forward to working with the Legislature in the time I have left as governor to get that job done," Quinn said Wednesday.
Fitch Ratings, in a post-election commentary, noted Rauner's need for cooperation with the legislature to accomplish his agenda.
"With an enacted fiscal 2015 budget that does not fully fund operations and temporary tax revenues scheduled to roll off at the end of December, inaction would be a return to past choices and leave the state particularly poorly positioned when the economy experiences another downturn," Fitch wrote.
Rauner's transition team is led by Lieutenant Governor-elect Evelyn Sanguinetti.