Things are now going to get harsher now that the legislative session is going into
overtime. Now any budget that passes will require a supermajority rather than a
simple majority in the House and Senate. The Dept. of Human Services budget
that passed the House and the Senate last week is something we can live with so
let’s hope this budget is in the final budget agreement. The real problem is the
budget package that was passed was also short $3 billion. It appeared that the
four Legislative Leaders and the Governor were really not very far apart in a
budget agreement calling for new revenue and reforms that the Governor wanted.
Now, all of that has changed or has it? We shall see.
The House and Senate have adjourned but could be called back at any time if the
Legislative Leaders and the Governor can reach some type of agreement. As of
today, the House is expected to return to the Capitol this Thursday and the
Senate on Tuesday, June 9th.
As predicted, we are now in overtime. The Arc will continue to monitor the events
in the Capitol buts let’s hope the Leaders and the Governor come to agreement
Story from the State Journal Register follows.
Legislative session takes a pause, but will return this
By Doug Finke, State Capitol Bureau
Illinois lawmakers will be working into the summer after failing to reach a
conclusion on a balanced budget and other issues by their scheduled
adjournment deadline of midnight Sunday.
House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, said Sunday that the House “will be
in continuous session through the summer” and advised members that they
should be prepared to return to Springfield on 48 hours’ notice.
However, Madigan also said the chamber will be in session again Thursday.
Members will not be paid mileage or daily expense money when they return for
summer sessions, he said. Lawmakers are paid $111 in daily expense money
when they are in session in Springfield.
Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said the Senate will return June 9.
He also advised senators to be prepared to return to Springfield for additional
session days “until our work is done.”
Gov. Bruce Rauner declared the session “a stunningly disappointing General
Assembly session this spring.”
“We do not have a balanced budget,” the Republican governor said at a Capitol
news conference. “We have an attempt to force major tax hikes on the people of
Illinois, and we have absolutely no significant reforms and no sincere effort that we
can tell yet to achieve significant reforms.”
He also said the state is in for a “rough summer.”
Three of the four legislative leaders said Sunday that they expect to reach a
compromise at some point, but just when that will be is anyone’s guess. The finger
pointing continued in earnest Sunday about who was at fault for the impasse and
what it would take to end it.
“We find ourselves trying to work with a governor who continues to run campaigns
rather than the state that elected him,” Cullerton said. “Rather than roll up his
sleeves and work on solutions, he’s dictating demands and threatening those who
defy him. He’s holding the budget hostage.”
Taxes, spending, reform
Democrats have approved a roughly $36 billion spending plan, although they
have not sent it to Rauner so that he can act on it. Rauner has said he will not
sign the budget because it is out of balance. It spends at least $3 billion more
than next year’s estimated tax collections.
“What I heard is a lot of noise and distraction from what is really going on here,”
Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont said after Cullerton’s
late morning news conference. “The Democrats only want another tax increase.
They have turned their backs on reforms and compromise.”
Although Rauner has broached the idea of raising taxes to balance the budget,
he said he wants lawmakers to approve parts of his “turnaround agenda” before
he will talk about that option.
After seeming to indicate Friday that workers’ compensation reform and a property
tax freeze were the most important things he wanted to achieve, Rauner on Sunday
said all five of the proposals introduced a week ago needed to be addressed. In
addition to the property tax freeze and workers’ compensation reform, they include
term limits, changes to how political maps are drawn and reforms of civil liability
Rauner’s tax freeze was coupled with proposals allowing local governments to
ignore the state’s prevailing wage law on construction projects and to limit items that
could be collectively bargained by public employee unions. Democrats also said
Rauner’s workers’ compensation changes would harm injured workers.
“Much of his agenda has a theme,” Cullerton said. “It’s middle-class workers lose
and corporate CEOs win. These are proposals that are very drastic.”
Rauner countered that Cullerton and Madigan “are not about the middle class.”
“They are about the political class,” he said. “The insiders in Springfield who make
their money from the government are at war with the people of the state. Speaker
Madigan and the politicians he controls are taking the state down.”
Radogno struck a similar chord.
“They try to say they want to protect middle-class families, but middle-class families
want relief from the enormous property taxes we have in this state that are just
crushing them and forcing them to leave,” she said. “The people of this state
rejected the direction the state was going (by electing Rauner). By overwhelming
majorities, people think Illinois has been heading in the wrong direction.”
By going past the end of May, the legislature will now need more votes to pass
legislation. Instead of 60 votes in the House and 30 in the Senate, bills must now
get 71 votes in the House and 36 in the Senate.
The state’s current fiscal year ends June 30, but a critical spending point for the
state isn’t reached until about mid-July, when first payrolls must be issued.
Rauner said the administration is making contingency plans, but he would not
Looming over everything is Rauner’s threat to unleash a vast advertising
campaign against Democrats who have opposed his agenda and who want to
balance the budget with a combination of tax increases and spending cuts.
Cullerton said the subject came up Friday during a private meeting among the four
legislative leaders and Rauner.
“He made it clear that in the next few weeks he’s going to launch a multimillion
negative ad campaign designed to demonize those who are standing up for the
middle class,” Cullerton said. “Nothing could be more damaging to the prospects
of compromise than employing Washington, D.C.-type campaign tactics.
Attacking people makes it more difficult to reach an agreement.”
Rauner would not talk about any potential ad campaign against Democrats.
“We’re not going to talk and speculate about messaging going forward,” he said.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs said: “Things have
broken down, and it’s very unfortunate. It’s unfortunate, and we may be in for a
Radogno said a brief interlude may help the situation.
“I think we all (need to) go home, take a break, regroup and start to talk again
about the compromise that’s needed,” she said.
— Seth Richardson of the State Capitol Bureau contributed to this report. Contact
Doug Finke: firstname.lastname@example.org, 788-1527, twitter.com/dougfinkesjr.
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423