Illinois May Be Set To Repeat Budget-Less Year

May 31, 2016
Illinois Senate President John Cullerton

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton says his chamber will attempt to pass a full year, FY2017 budget Tuesday.

Amanda Vinicky / John Cullerton

Illinois could be heading into a second year without a budget. Lawmakers are beginning their final day of the regularly-scheduled spring session without a deal.

It's setting up to be a repeat of last year.

Democrats, passing a spending plan Governor Bruce Rauner says he'll veto because it's out of balance.

With Rauner and his fellow Republicans making a budget deal contingent on his "Turnaround" agenda.

And each side accusing the other of holding the state hostage until they get their way.

"Hostage taking is when you don't pass an entire budget at all for two-straight years in exchange for some nebulous, business-friendly reforms," Senate President John Cullerton said following a Monday evening meeting with the governor and other three legislative leaders.

House GOP leader, Jim Durkin put the blame back on Democrats, saying "their attitude is … to move into the summer and to basically hold taxpayers hostage for the remaining of this fiscal year."

Durkin accuses Democrats of stalling on an agreement.

Even so, House Speaker Michael Madigan says working groups of legislators are making headway on the controversial issues the governor has tied to a budget deal -- just apparently not enough.

Madigan says Democrats will not agree to anything that sacrifices the standard of living for middle class families. He plans for the House to return to Springfield after Tuesday's scheduled adjournment.

"So I would say that if we get to tomorrow night and there's no agreement, I would call upon the governor to continue to schedule his working groups on a regular basis. Because the House will be in continuous session. We will be here every Wednesday through June, starting next week," Madigan said.

After midnight on May 31, passing a budget would require a super-majority, making a deal even harder.

The Senate has yet to take up the spending plan advanced out of the House last week, but Cullerton indicated the chamber will vote on a full year budget before adjourning. Cullerton says he had a heavy hand in crafting that plan, and securing its hefty boost to school funding.

Republicans say the Democratic plan is $7 billion dollars out of balance, and that Democrats are trying spend excessively to force a tax hike after November's election.

The governor and legislative leaders are scheduled to meet again Tuesday.

Story source: Illinois Public Radio