In a remarkable display of candor, Comptroller Leslie Munger, who has described herself as Bruce Rauner’s “right hand,” acknowledged yesterday that she would make Wall Street banks a priority over the people of Illinois as she captains the “stopgap” sham that is part of the governor’s assault on the social services safety net in Illinois.
In a self-serving press conference, Munger paid lip service Thursday to payments to the social services agencies that haven’t yet closed as a result of Rauner’s manufactured budget crisis, but made clear that she would service debt to banks (while not defining exactly what she and Rauner consider “debt”).
Following is the response of James Muhammad, vice president and communications director of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, which represents more than 50,000 Illinois home healthcare and child care workers, who have seen care in Illinois diminished by the Munger/Rauner priorities that put banks first and human beings last.
“Comptroller Munger’s self-serving press conference shows that she believes bank profits are more important than the needs of everyday Illinoisans. The comptroller is supposed to be a watchdog of taxpayer resources. Instead, Munger, working as the “right hand” of Governor Bruce Rauner, has left the stopgap money payments WITHOUT any oversigh and has served as a waterbearer for Wall Street.
“A million people have been denied services as a result of the state budget impasse and thousands of social services providers have closed, never to return. Now, Munger and Rauner are coming to the rescue – but not for those suffering who need relief the most, but for the banks. Not one of Munger’s favored banks have closed during the impasse, but several nonprofits and providers of services have closed their doors, thanks to her shameful willingness to toe the Rauner line.
“Munger and Rauner will say that this is about our credit rating and saving taxpayers money and nothing could be done differently. But nothing could be further from the truth: They were content to sit by and pay fees and penalties and see our credit scores drop while they kept our budget hostage, all so that they could further their radical political agenda. What’s more, they continued to pay out to banks fees and penalties that had NOTHING to do with the Illinois debt, while allowing social services to wither on the vine.
“The Illinois comptroller is supposed to be a watchdog of taxpayer resources. But Munger has provided no transparency, no accountability and no plan, other than making sure that Wall Street banks line their pockets. We need a comptroller independent of the banks and independent of Rauner. In November, our members will be voting for Susana Mendoza, who provides an independent voice and will put the people of Illinois before the profits of New York corporate banks.”