Gov.-elect Pritzker names panel to tackle state bud­get mess

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY RACHEL HIN­TON, STAFF RE­PORTER rhin­ton@sun­times.com | @rrhin­ton

Call­ing it “a guide­post” to help his ad­min­is­tra­tion nav­i­gate the path to re­solve the state’s bud­get prob­lems, Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker on Thurs­day an­nounced the for­ma­tion of a work­ing group in­clud­ing politi­cians, busi­ness­men and la­bor lead­ers to ad­vise him.

The Chicago Demo­crat’s Bud­get and In­no­va­tion Com­mit­tee is com­prised of 17 mem­bers from both sides of the aisle.

The chair­man is for­mer state Comp­trol­ler Dan Hynes, a Demo­crat who has un­suc­cess­fully run for gover­nor and the U.S. Se­nate. Other mem­bers in­clude Chris­tine Radogno, the for­mer Repub­li­can leader in the Illi­nois state Se­nate; Michael Sacks, chair­man and CEO of GCM Grosvenor; Chicago Trea­surer Kurt Sum­mers, and Dan Mont­gomery, head of the Illi­nois Fed­er­a­tion of Teach­ers.

Hynes called the com­mit­tee the be­gin­ning of what will be a “col­lab­o­ra­tive and in­no­va­tive process.”

“The bud­get is go­ing to be not only the top pri­or­ity but it’s go­ing to im­pact ev­ery­thing our new gover­nor is go­ing to try to ac­com­plish,” Hynes said.

With $8 bil­lion in un­paid bills, pen­sion li­a­bil­i­ties and other fi­nan­cial prob­lems that im­pact ser­vices will take a group ef­fort and cre­ative think­ing, Hynes said. It’ll take an hon­est scope of the prob­lems and a col­lab­o­ra­tive process to solve them, he said.

Pritzker named his larger tran­si­tion team on Wed­nes­day, a day af­ter he beat Repub­li­can Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Pritzker said his Bud­get and In­no­va­tion Com­mit­tee is the first in a se­ries of work­ing groups he will form to ad­dress spe­cific state is­sues.

The re­ports the com­mit­tee pro­duces grap­pling with the fis­cal is­sues will be made pub­lic, Pritzker said.

“I’m go­ing to be very much on top of what the com­mit­tees are do­ing, lis­ten­ing to them and fol­low­ing along as they tackle each of the is­sues,” Pritzker said. “It is go­ing to be a guide­post for what we in­tend to do in our ad­min­is­tra­tion, in each of the com­mit­tees we are putting to­gether.”

Pritzker pro­vided no new clar­ity on his plans for a grad­u­ated in­come tax sys­tem. He said that lis­ten­ing and in­clud­ing all par­ties would be im­por­tant for tack­ling the dif­fi­cult chal­lenge of get­ting the con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment it would take to change the sys­tem.

“In or­der to change the tax sys­tem in the state … we need to make sure that we’re lis­ten­ing,” Pritzker said at the Spring­field news con­fer­ence. “I know you all don’t want to ac­cept that, but in or­der to get some­thing done we need to lis­ten to all par­ties.”

PRO­VIDED

Dan Hynes (cen­ter) will chair the Bud­get and In­no­va­tion Com­mit­tee that’s part of Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker’s tran­si­tion team.

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