A leader of the Illinois House Revenue Committee used a visual aid to demonstrate the state’s dire financial situation to his colleagues on the floor. State Rep. David Harris (R-Arlington Heights) shared the spotlight with a stuffed animal to demonstrate the $8 billion in unpaid bills is “a monkey on (the state’s) back.” The show-and-tell came during House debate of a budget resolution which divides the estimated $33.7 billion in revenue for Fiscal Year 2013 among the five appropriations committees.
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Those committees determine the funds in: Elementary and secondary education; higher education; human services; public safety; and general services. The percentages are, respectively, 19.8, 12.1, 31.2, 9.7, and 7.1. State Rep. Will Davis (D-Homewood), the chairman of the Elementary and Secondary Education Appropriations Committee, was unhappy: “For some reason, I think that those who … don’t want additional revenue – I don’t know if they don’t care about the cuts that are going to be made, or who’s going to be impacted, and if this is the path we’re going down, then fine.” Voting against the resolution, he predicted people would not like the decisions the appropriations panels would make. House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) says the income tax increase which passed in 2011 has not worked: “For anybody to suggest that we’re going to go back to the people of the state of Illinois and say, ‘We haven’t gotten it yet. We need more money from you,’ isn’t a route that many of us want to go down,” he said.