Rauner sworn in as governor; professors react

Luis Martinez, Administration Editor

Bruce Rauner was officially sworn in as governor of Illinois Monday afternoon after winning the election against incumbent Pat Quinn in November, making him the 42nd governor of Illinois.

During his speech, the republican governor said what he believed to be the state’s main issues, including a lack of competitiveness among other states, an unstable financial situation and a slow economy.

Rauner said the reason that the state’s financial condition is the way it is today is due to decades of politicians’ bad decisions.

Rauner also issued his first executive order to reduce state spending for at least the next six months, including limiting certain contracts and grants.

Richard Wandling, the political science department chair, said he agrees with what Rauner had said was the state’s problem.

“Illinois does have shaky finances; that is a well established fact,” Wandling said. “In recent years, we’ve been running major deficits to the tune of $8 (billion) to $9 billion a year.”

Wandling also said that the state is infamous for its problematic budgeting.

“We have a systematic structural deficit and that structural deficit is a systematic mismatch between incoming revenues and expenditures for the state,” Wandling said. “If Governor Rauner can make some progress on that, then that would definitely be very helpful to the state.”

Wandling said he believes there will be trimming in some budget areas without a doubt.

Jeffery Ashley, a political science professor, offered his opinion on Rauner’s address.

“We clearly have a shaky economy,” Ashley said. “We lead the nation in very few things. We’re last in terms of a lot of things but in terms of in debt and owning interest, we’re number one.”

Ashley also said Rauner has grasped the ramifications of being governor, unlike his predecessors.

“They didn’t seem to grasp it and they were already in office,” Ashley said. “The fact that [Rauner] has gone around and met with individual legislators gives me the sense that he may have a better idea of how to govern.”

During his speech, Rauner said fixing the state’s current education situation would be one of his main priorities, citing that he wants to invest “adequately” on all levels including higher education.

Both professors agreed it is still too early to tell whether Rauner will have a positive or negative effect on education.

Whether or not Rauner will have a successful term as governor, given the state’s history, both professors are cautiously optimistic of the future of Illinois’ new governor.

Luis Martinez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].