News Local/State

Republicans, Democrats Appear Far Apart On State Budget


The fiscal year ends Friday but Republicans and Democrats appear to be far apart on a solution to Illinois' budget crisis. Photo Composite/Mike Thomas/Illinois Public Media

By late Wednesday afternoon, Illinois Republicans and Democrats only appeared to be moving farther apart on a budget deal.

The House of Representatives voted earlier in the day on some of the governor’s conditions for a budget deal _ a property tax freeze, consolidating local governments and addressing the massive pension debt.

But most Republicans didn’t vote for any of the Democratic proposals.

Chicago Democrat Christian Mitchell vented his frustration with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

"The bottom line is we are dealing with a governor who does not know the difference between compromise and capitulation," Mitchell said.

And Republicans accused Democrats of negotiating in bad faith.

Rauner, meanwhile, announced in a terse statement that if there’s no deal by the end of the fiscal year on Friday, he’ll extend the special session.

“If the legislature fails to send a balanced budget package to my desk by Friday, we will have no choice but to keep them in session until they get the job done,” the governor said in the printed statement.

Republican House Leader Christine Radogno, though, noted that meetings will continue Thursday.

“Nobody came out swinging, so that’s a good thing,” she said.

Illinois has not had a full state budget since the start of the 2015-16 fiscal year in July 2015.

Year three would begin with the possibility that Illinois' credit rating will be lowered to junk status, which would make it more expensive for the state to borrow money. Some school districts have talked about the possibility of running out of money over the next few months. A number of major state construction projects are also coming to a halt because of the lack of a state budget.

Each party has introduced its own proposed budget, but neither has so far been willing to say how they’ll pay for their ideas.