Cullerton: Republicans Can Solve Budget Impasse

“IL is the first state in eight decades to go without a budget, and Springfield’s continued failure to pass a budget has caused irreparable damage to our schools, roads, and medical assistance facilities in our state”. That leaves state finances in limbo – including funding for grade schools. “Once again, a tragic failure to serve the people of IL”. House Democrats did not vote on a plan passed by the Senate.

Lawmakers in Springfield adjourned the spring session Wednesday without meeting the May 31 deadline for adopting a state budget.

Marchers sang and chanted Tuesday on the final stretch of a 200-mile trek across IL to demand a state budget, a mood that was dampened later when several allegedly disruptive protesters were removed from the House gallery and a worn out group waited outside Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office in hopes of talking to him. But Rauner threatened to veto the plan and the House didn’t vote on it.

The grand bargain became petite, but it did include a series of tax hikes, and that seems to have overwhelmed the House Democrats. A budget and tax hikes can still be passed after that date, but it takes additional votes in the House and Senate, which makes the job much more hard.

Tony Sanders, CEO of Elgin Area School District U46 – the state’s second-largest school district, pointedly stated how starved for funding IL schools are. Beginning Thursday, a three-fifths majority will be required to pass bills rather than a simple majority.

$435 million from changes to state employee group health insurance, and $300 million from the sale of the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. Asked about Gov. Rauner’s constant attacks on Speaker Madigan, she says it’s “not helpful”. Republicans have introduced their own plan for the sale.

“When we’re on a good path – a good path- – to change the system, there’s no need for different answers”, Rauner said when asked why he’s stuck with the same talking points as the budget crisis has dragged on.

A spokeswoman says Gov. Bruce Rauner will sign a plan to automatically register qualified IL voters.

Dozens of demonstrators refused to leave the state Capitol until they were forced to, reports said. It calls for registering individuals automatically when they visit one of several state agencies unless they opt out. They passed automatic voter registration.

The state budget impasse has exceeded 23 months, and a special session on the budget could take place in the coming weeks.

Illinois Secretary of State spokesman Henry Haupt says no arrests were made.

Some protesters were seen being dragged out of the gallery by security staff.

Midnight tonight was to have been the Legislature’s deadline for approving a budget and a host of other issues.

Activists with the March to Springfield hold a protest and rally outside the governor’s office at the Capitol in Springfield, Ill.

It’s hardly news anymore that Illinois’ financial position is extremely precarious – worst in the nation – after roughly two dozen downgrades during the last eight years.

“Some of our people are concerned – having observed how the governor worked with the Senate Democrats – where he would negotiate then back away, negotiate, back away”. He said negotiations stalled regarding term limits, local government consolidation, workers’ compensation and a property tax freeze.

“Walking 200 miles is not something I ever thought I’d do”, said 24-year-old Samantha Nichols of Chicago, a pastor-in-training. But they’d be able to seek a waiver from the Illinois State Board of Education. Levies dedicated to pension and debt payments were exempted from the freeze.

Cullerton says the same thing happened in the House.

The measures move to the House.

Rauner’s people, however, have dismissed those efforts as “phony”. [T] he size and scope of IL government is out-of-hand.

The bill would allow birth-certificate changes as long as the individual identifies as transgender and is under a doctor’s care. “Now we call on Gov. Rauner to quickly sign the bill”.

The Democratic-controlled House has several options Tuesday. Committee hearings are scheduled to consider legislation that will only have substantive language added to it shortly before public airing. We could have and should have done this two years ago. Democrats say that debate should follow a budget.

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