State Senate Approves Democrat-Backed Budget Package

May 23, 2017
 
Sens. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, and Heather Steans, D-Chicago, introducing the new budget proposal in a Senate hearing.

Sens. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, and Heather Steans, D-Chicago, introducing the new budget proposal in a Senate hearing.

Tom Lisi/NPR Illinois

The Illinois Senate has voted 33-23, with two voting Present, to approve a $5 billion income tax increase to fund what Democrats say would be a balanced, $37.3 billion budget.  

A Democratic majority pushed the measures through (SB6 & SB 42) despite opposition from Republicans. All Senate Republicans and three of the Democrats voted against the bills. 

Sen. Toi Hutchinson said there's little time left and the House must have a chance to debate the budget before the scheduled May 31 adjournment. The Olympia Fields Democrat sponsored the tax bill that increases the personal income tax from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent. Sales taxes would be applied to services for the first time.  

Spending plan sponsor Sen. Heather Steans of Chicago says the $37.3 billion spending outline matches the one GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner introduced in February. She says many of the $3 billion in spending reductions were proposed by the GOP.

Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, said Tuesday’s vote is theater on the part of Democrats.

“You folks will get up and express your need to say, ‘Wow, we gotta get this done,’ and then when you are done with that — come back. We will still be sitting at the table ready to talk about a bipartisan solution to these things,” Righter said.

Senate President John Cullerton says that should be a win for the governor.

“I don’t think he’s going to criticize this budget, and he really can’t criticize the taxes that he asked for,” Cullerton said.

But he already has, tweeting before the vote he won’t sign a budget that doesn’t include relief for property taxes.

Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago released a statement saying his budget experts will carefully consider the proposals. That's a panel of House Democrats, which includes Rep. Carol Ammons of Urbana.

Story source: AP