A look at Illinois' budget mess as lawmakers head to Capitol

Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) told the DuPage Policy Journal that while Gov. Bruce Rauner's special session address Tuesday night was filled with nice ideas, he needs to offer a more practical solution to Illinoisans.

Medicaid talks will continue past Tuesday, with a new deadline set for June 28 - just two days before the final deadline for the state legislature to agree on a spending bill during a special session, an attorney said late Monday.

Our local representatives, Republican Tony McCombie and Democrat Mike Halpin say they are hopeful for a budget this time around because the General Assembly can not override a veto from the Governor. Rauner says failure to act could cause "permanent damage". The four-year expiration date would coincide with a four-year property tax freeze that also is in the GOP plan. IL has the lowest credit rating of any state, following two years without a full budget, but failing again could bring it down to junk bond status - something no state has ever dealt with.

Democrats dismissed Rauner's speech as campaigning, saying he hasn't shown unity in his tenure. "We must all do better for the citizens of IL". House Republicans are prepared to finish the job and call upon House Democrats to join us.

"We're not interested in being preached to, or being told 'take it or leave it, ' which is what we have had for some time now", Durkin said. "We must do better for the citizens of IL", the governor said.

House Democrats, led by Madigan, left Springfield last month without taking up Senate budget bills.

Rauner said lawmakers reviewed a compromise last week he believes he can sign, calling it "truly balanced" and a plan "that we can all support".

Lawmakers have until June 30 to reach an agreement before a new fiscal year begins.

"Failure to act is not an option", he said. "Debt reduction. And term limits on legislative leaders and statewide officeholders, including the governor", he said. "We've had such little growth and this compromise plan does not bring back the business climate we need to grow the tax pie to be able to afford what people want".

State universities have seen their bond ratings downgraded to junk status.

IL has a backlog of unpaid bills topping $15 billion and unfunded pension obligations of more than $130 billion.

"You're of course going to have to borrow, you're going to have to borrow some money".

  • Larry Hoffman