Lawmakers back today to work on budget deal


Lawmakers back today to work on budget deal

Lawmakers have blown through two deadlines to pass a balanced budget, and IL is in Day Two of its third consecutive fiscal year without one.

Friday, the House passed one major slice of the budget plan: the spending bill.

The revenue package will include tax hikes, including an increase in the income tax to 4.95 percent.

Saturday was the first day of the third straight year without a formal budget plan for IL, which has a backlog of unpaid pills estimated at $15 billion.

Few places in IL have been hit harder by the financial mess than the capital city, where state bills owed to the city, hospitals and other vendors have topped $300 million, said Springfield Republican Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez. All Democrats voted for the measure, and House Republicans were nearly evenly split.

Illinois' backlog of bills has grown to $15 billion as spending has remained on autopilot because of court orders and consent decrees during the two-year budget impasse. IL has already been warned, it will be the first state ever to be downgraded to junk bond status if it can't reach a deal before the end of the fiscal year.

Ted Schurter/The State Journal-Register via AP Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, commits to putting Republican votes on Senate Bill 6 during debate on the floor at the Illinois Capitol on Friday in Springfield.

After decades of fiscal mismanagement, IL faces $15 billion in unpaid bills and owes a whopping quarter-trillion dollars to public employees when they retire. "Ongoing negotiations have been happening, but at this point we still have a long way to go, unfortunately".

The state is supposed to have a balanced budget in place by July 1. Not just to get passage but to bring us past 71 and that to me is my commitment to you that we continue our work today. Representatives indicated that the two sides were close on workers' compensation but there was still plenty of work to be done on a property tax freeze. They want more of the same - more spending and higher taxes. "It's my hope, and prayer, frankly, that we can get that done in the next few hours, to provide the relief and a plan that the people of IL need", Brady said, surrounded by Republican senators at the steps out a grand stair case in the capitol rotunda.

She said that would make "the unthinkable" — such as delaying pension payments or not paying state workers — very likely.

Democrats, who have large majorities in the Legislature, argue that Rauner's demands are an attack on the middle class.



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