Rauner, Rahm trade jabs at new factory set to open in 18 months

FOX 32 NEWS - A Chicago State University crowd booed Governor Rauner at a graduation ceremony on Thursday.

He fared better a short time later at a new factory that plans to add nearly 300 jobs. But Rauner had to share the stage with a rival.

Despite a brief handshake, the divide between Bruce Rauner and Rahm Emanuel seemed deeper than ever. The mayor complained the state owes millions of dollars to hundreds of public school systems.

“Illinois has to invest in education,” Emanuel said. “What they can't do is have a bait and switch, where you say, ‘here's what we're gonna do.’ And then never pay their bills.”

The governor suggested it's Emanuel’s own fault for not working hard enough in Springfield for a new school funding formula.

“The mayor should get involved in pushing to make sure that the new funding formula gets done. He has influence in the Democratic caucus. I hope he'll get involved directly. He hasn't been doing as much of that as, frankly, I would like to see. I think we could get it done, if he would,” Rauner said.

They spoke where a new Flex-N-Gate Auto Parts factory is set to open in 18 months, a supplier to the South Side assembly plant of Ford Motors. Neighborhood business leaders said such announcements are too rare on the Illinois side of state line road, compared to the Indiana side of the street where Gov. Rauner often notes taxes are lower.

“There’s a multitude of reasons. Property taxes, you know. Sometimes I agree with the governor,” said Bob Wisz of Doreen’s Frozen Gourmet Pizza.

“We’ve gotta grow more jobs, just like Flex-N-Gate jobs. But we should be doing it by the tens of thousands. We should be announcing a factory like this every week on the South Side of Chicago and in Blue Island and in Maywood,” Rauner said.

A property tax freeze, pro-business reforms, funding for education – it's all tied together in the state capitol. The governor said behind-the-scenes negotiations on a comprehensive budget package are making progress.

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