News Local/State

Illinois House Abandons Plans To Vote On Budget In May

The Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield, Ill.

The Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield, Ill. (Brian Mackey/IPR)

The Illinois General Assembly is once again ending its annual legislative session without passing a budget. 

Although Senate Democrats this month passed both a budget bill and a variety of tax hikes to pay for it, House Democrats cannot agree on what to do. Try to meet Governor Bruce Rauner’s demands, as the Senate tried and failed to do with the so-called grand bargain? Or go it alone, as the Senate ended up doing.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan says his fellow Democrats are concerned about how they saw Rauner working with the Senate.

“He would negotiate, then back away, negotiate, backin' away", said Madigan. "There’s a concern. They just don’t have a high level of confidence in how the governor has conducted himself."

Madigan's budget negotiator, Chicago Democrat Greg Harris, says there is reluctance to act on the $37 billion budget proposal that the Illinois Senate approved, because Senate Republicans didn't provide any votes for passage.

Gov. Rauner, in a Wednesday afternoon news conference, accused House Democrats of "a complete dereliction of duty". 

Democrats, said Rauner, "focused more on making phony headlines thanon doing the work you sent them here to Springfield to do. ... Legislators in the Democrat majority would like us to accept massive permanent income tax hikes without any real property tax relief."

The Illinois House is set to continue meeting through the month of June. But starting June 1st, approval of a state budget will require a three-fifths supermajority vote in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly.

UPDATE: This article was revised to include comments from Gov. Rauner. - JM 5/31/17