GOP pushes fiscal reform while Dems eye tax increases

The Republicans' compromise plan includes a balanced budget with spending caps, along with plans for school funding reform, real property tax relief for homeowners, workers compensation reform to improve the state's dismal business climate, term limits for legislative leaders, pension reform, and a plan to ease and encourage government consolidation, according to the release. IL has been spending more than $6 billion beyond what it takes in for the past two years while Rauner has dug in and pressured Democrats to approve his economic agenda, which includes numerous items contained in the Republicans' offer.

"So there's some programs that might've outlived their usefulness or could have a reduction not a complete cut, but to start pointing fingers, I think the ownership for a lot of the escalation over the years in the budget has come from one area, and we simply can't afford this".

Part of the plan includes two bills that have already passed the Senate, pension reform and government consolidation - with changes made to strengthen and improve the previous local government consolidation proposal. "If he doesn't talk to us nor work with us, to me it is just a reflection on his desire to do nothing and to make sure that the governor is the one who will be hurt next year in the gubernatorial campaign". The House didn't consider the plan before adjourning by a key May 31 deadline, saying more GOP support was needed. Credit ratings agencies have threatened to lower Illinois' already worst-in-the-nation credit rating to "junk" status without a budget. Legislative leaders haven't yet announced plans to meet this month.

Representative Tim Dukes called Speaker Schwartzkopf's comments "ludicrous", and said this was a manipulation and attempt to coerce people to support greater tax increases. But Republicans offered a snapshot of the plan at a Loop press conference, which they say represents a balanced budget and reforms that address the priorities of both parties. "We are essentially picking up where they left off before Senate Democrats chose to go it alone".

House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, a Bear Democrat, said the proposal would raise $68 million in additional revenue in the fiscal year starting July 1, and $211 million the following year. "I am stating that we need to act now to pass a negotiated comprehensive balanced budget with reforms to change the status quo in how we operate in IL and to boost our struggling economy". They say that's only going to happen, if those tax hikes are limited to four years and are tied to a four year property tax freeze. He said the Senate president will wait for the bills to be filed to review the details and see how to proceed.

Durkin says it's now up to House Speaker Michael Madigan to take the next steps.

  • Carolyn Briggs