Illinois House chamberLake County News-Sun - June 1, 2017 | original article

By Jim Newton

Lake County legislators on both sides of the aisle are expressing anger, frustration and — in some cases — a shared sense of disappointment in top leadership of both parties as the state's dire budget woes continue.

After the state legislature's spring session closed Wednesday without the passage of a budget, further prolonging a situation dating back two years, both Republican and Democratic senators and state representatives bemoaned another lost opportunity.

"The Senate passed a balanced budget and passed it to the (Illinois) House. Now the speaker and the governor need to put down their swords," State Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, said Thursday of Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Bush, who called the amount of time Illinois has gone without a budget "unprecedented" in the modern era, lauded a bipartisan committee of legislators that has been working for months to reach compromises on issues of contention and soften party lines. But she added that both Rauner and Madigan continue to effectively steer votes along party lines.

The Senate's passage of the budget, without one supporting Republican vote, leaves the matter in the hands of the House, but Madigan's decision not to call a vote by the end of May means the legislature will now need a three-fifths super-majority to approve budget items.

Bush said that will make the task even more difficult, and the projected income-tax increase that will be needed to address the state's current $14.4 billion debt will only get higher with each year that a budget is not passed.

She added that the budget proposal passed by the Senate, which included many of the conditions Rauner has said he wants, would result in an income-tax increase of about 4.9 percent, and that "if it goes on for another year, we're going to need a 6 percent increase."

The state legislature is expected to reconvene before the end of June. The state's fiscal year ends June 30.
Summer rerun: Session ends with Democrats, Rauner failing to cut budget deal

"We're not giving up. We're still here for a month, and we have a group of bipartisan legislators still trying (to reach compromise)," Bush said.

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Category: In The News

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