Yesterday in the Capitol Phil and I targeted Democrats involved in crafting a new budget. In
a very positive meeting with Senator Dan Kotowski, the Senator stated he wanted a state
budget that reflected our values including critical supports for individuals with disabilities.
Kotowski will be a major player in whatever budget is crafted.


Senator Kotowski

It was clear Monday that legislators were at an impasse over the Governor’s proposed
budget which many knew was dead on arrival. The question was, could the working
groups come to some kind of consensus over the budget. At this point, it looks like they
cannot so the Dems are moving forward with their own budget proposal.

This proposal could be voted upon before the end of the session which is May 31st. The
vote would only require a simple majority. Any budget agreement after May 31st would
require a super majority.

Looks like we are in for a long hot summer in the Capitol unless something changes.

Story from Chicago Tribune below.


Democrats craft own budget plan
GOP lawmakers say they’ve been cut out of process

By Monique Garcia and Kim Geiger Chicago Tribune

SPRINGFIELD — House Democrats say they’re working behind the scenes to draw up
their own budget plan they hope can pass before a May 31 deadline as Republican
legislative leaders complained Tuesday that their counterparts across the aisle are failing
to “seriously engage” in negotiations with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The escalating rhetoric and posturing comes as the governor tries to leverage the budget
process to get Democrats to agree to sweeping changes on everything from union rules
to how workers are paid for an injury on the job in return for a tax hike to help plug a $6.6
billion deficit and avoid some spending cuts.

The governor put together secret working groups at the Capitol on several issues with the
idea of finding compromise. But Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno and House
GOP leader Jim Dur-kin on Tuesday accused Democrats of largely walking away from the
table in favor of pushing through their own budget plan.

“They apparently think we can still pass a massive income tax increase or another tax hike,
add more gambling or just pass another phony budget. Unfortunately what Illinois wants is
a change in the status quo,” Radogno said. “Republicans are more than willing to negotiate
and compromise, but it’s clear that the Democrats are continuing to just want to play politics
rather than clean up the messes that have been created.”

Democrats counter that they have a responsibility to craft a budget before month’s end,
regardless of Rauner’s political agenda. A spokeswoman for Democratic Senate President
John Cullerton said he plans to continue talks with Rauner but acknowledged the “change
in tone” from Republicans was not a good sign that a bipartisan agreement could be

“The truth is that what the governor is asking for is that we wholeheartedly accept his
political ideology and agenda in exchange for a balanced budget,” Culler-ton spokeswoman
Rikeesha Phelon said. “The people of Illinois deserve a balanced budget with or without
Gov. Rauner getting what he wants.”

Democrats aren’t saying what their budget plan would look like. If it contained a tax hike,
that would play into Rauner’s hands. The governor could veto the measure and force
lawmakers back to the table over the summer as he airs TV ads ripping Democrats for
trying to raise taxes before making other fixes.

Durkin took House Democrats to task for staging a series of test votes asking lawmakers
to weigh in on Rauner ideas, including budget cuts, a property tax freeze and restrictions
on unions. The measures failed, with most Republicans voting “present.” Durkin said
Democrats already are sending out attack mail in some Republican districts.

Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, noted that Democrats
have been on the receiving end of a mail campaign by a Republican-allied nonprofit group
that doesn’t have to disclose the identities of its donors.

“We put our name on that stuff; we don’t hide behind some dark money group,” Brown
said of the mailers recently sent out by Madigan’s Illinois Democratic Party blasting
Republicans who didn’t vote in favor of the property tax freeze legislation.

Democrats say Rauner must realize he has to work with the legislature, not just demand
changes and paint lawmakers as the enemy.

It’s an approach one lawmaker said was used by now imprisoned ex-Gov. Rod

“We have a governor who started his administration a la Rod Blagojevich, pitting himself
against the General Assembly,” said Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie.

Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)
815-464-1832 (CELL)