Local Leaders React to Rauner Resignations

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ag Director, Seneca native Nelson resigns.

In this Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015 photo, crowds wait for Illinois Gov. Both the head of the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the director of the Illinois State Fair submitted their resignations Thursday, a month after they announced attendance at the annual event was down by half.

They wanted him to sign a resignation right there on the spot and wouldn’t give him a reason why he was asked to resign,” said State Fair Director Patrick Buchen. “He asked to see the governor, and they refused to let him see the governor.” “I appreciate Director Nelson’s commitment to agriculture and his service to the people of Illinois,” Rauner said in a statement. “I wish him all the best.” “I owe this job to him, and I wasn’t going to stay here working for these guys downtown,” Buchen said. “There are just some really bad apples downtown. Last month, Buchen’s office released figures for the 11-day State Fair in Springfield clocking attendance at 411,547 — down from 844,649 the year before. At the time of his confirmation, Nelson said his goal would be to support the agriculture industry and to work to “turnaround Illinois’ economy.” Buchen was announced as the next state fair manager in May.

Rauner had said he wanted someone with a farm background to lead the department, unlike the department’s former director, Robert Flider, a former Democratic lawmaker from Mount Zion who did not have a farming background. In an interview with the RFD Radio Network, Nelson said Rauner told him, “If you come on board, I’ll give you the resources you need to truly make an impact on the department.” “It just hit me in the gut,” Sullivan said. “There’s nobody higher in ethics and morals than Philip Nelson. Buchen, a Fulton County native, had previous experience running the Indiana State Fair and was president of a company that staged garden and holiday shows around the country.

The Illinois House spent another session day in Springfield on Thursday, holding hearings, positioning bills for future action, and adjourning without making any progress on adopting a permanent budget. The House, which early in the budget impasse was holding weekly sessions in Springfield, now is not scheduled to return to Springfield until Oct. 20, although members were advised they could be called into session before that date. Earlier Thursday, hundreds of supporters for early childhood intervention programs rallied in the Capitol to press for continued funding for those programs.

Greg Harris, D-Chicago, said of the early childhood programs. “For every month their developmental delays aren’t addressed, there is developmental regression. This will save use tens and tens and tens of millions of dollars in future costs.” Republicans, though, said there is a difference between authorizing spending and actually having the cash available to spend.

Because of various court orders and state laws, the state is spending on a pace of up to $38 billion, but it is expected to take in less than $33 billion in taxes this year, largely because a portion of the state’s temporary income tax hike expired in January. The bill authorized about $3.8 billion in spending for a variety of human services programs — such as health department grants and payments for community care — along with authorizing payment of lottery winnings of more than $25,000 and payment of $582 million in gasoline taxes owed to local governments.

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