UPDATE: Plan To Fill FY 2015 State Budget Holes Passes House
The Illinois House Tuesday voted to patch a 1.6-billion-dollar hole in the current state budget.
The budget is supposed to get Illinois through June, but already the state's running out of money for things like court reporters and prison guards. That’s in part because Democrats passed an incomplete budget last year — not wanting to raise taxes or cut spending.
Now Democrats and Republicans — including Gov. Bruce Rauner — say they’ve found a solution. But it continues to mostly avoid that difficult choice.
There’s an across-the-board spending cut of 2-and-a-quarter percent. But House Democratic Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie said that’s a relatively small share of the overall fix.
“More than 80-percent comes from using the monies in special funds that are not necessary at this moment to be used for their original purpose," she said.
Although the deal took weeks to negotiate, it now appears to be on a fast track.
Lawmakers are scheduled to consider a new plan introduced by House Speaker Michael Madigan to end weeks of negotiations over plugging a $1.6 billion hole in this year's state budget.
The Legislature faces a fast-approaching deadline to act before money runs out for subsidized childcare programs, prisons and court reporters.
The Chicago Democrat introduced the plan late Monday. It would authorize Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner to transfer $1.3 billion from other purposes, including parks and conservation. The rest would come from a 2.25 percent across-the-board budget cut.
Rauner has said for weeks that lawmakers were close to agreeing on a solution. But Senate Democrats disagreed, insisting that Rauner first commit to considering new revenue sources for next year's budget.
The plan will be presented in committee hearings Tuesday morning.