State Senate Budget Compromise Put On Hold

January 10, 2017
 
Senate President John Cullerton and Republican Leader Christine Radogno.

Senate President John Cullerton and Republican Leader Christine Radogno describe their compromise Monday at a Capitol news conference.

Brian Mackey / WUIS

Details of a massive, bipartisan compromise meant to end Illinois' budget stalemate emerged Monday in the Illinois Senate. But the plan has been put on hold.

Rube Goldberg would be impressed by this budget plan. It's got cuts to government pensions, six new casino licenses (including one for Danville), and a gradual minimum wage hike.

It's also got higher income taxes — up to nearly 5 percent from the current 3.75 percent.

That said, there's plenty of skepticism among rank-and-file legislators like Dale Righter, a Republican senator from Mattoon.

"If legislators come to the ... taxpayers and say, 'You know what, we just need a big tax increase, and we'll tweak the curtains here and a little bit over here, but nothing substantive changes,' I think that there's going to be a rude awakening," Righter says.

But another Republican senator, Jason Barickman of Bloomington, called the package "a huge step forward."

"There's some stuff here I really like and support, and some stuff I don't, and I think it's going to be a similar reaction for every legislator," said Barickman in a news release. "I think it's often a sign of a good compromise when no one gets everything they want, but there's enough to make everyone happy."

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno also said nobody will like everything in the deal: "In fact, I cautioned my caucus: 'You might want to turn off your phone, because you're going to get inundated from people that don't like pieces of it.'"

The measure appeared to be on a fast track, but Radogno says some of her Republican colleagues were reluctant to vote on such a complicated package in the lame duck session. Now she and Senate President John Cullerton say they'll wait until after new legislators are sworn in on Wednesday.

Illinois has gone more than 18 months without a full budget.

Story source: Illinois Public Radio