Budget, budget, budget -- that’s a priority for both sides of the aisle in the Illinois Legislature this fall.
Illinois hasn’t had a budget for over a year, and a stopgap spending bill through January continues deficit spending.
State Rep. Chris Welch (D-Dist. 7) said that’s a problem and should be the focus in the upcoming fall veto session. “I think the veto session is going to be probably one of the most productive veto sessions we’ve had in awhile because the Nov. 8 election will be past us.”
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Dist. 82) said the outcome of the election will determine whether the state will get a balanced budget with economic reforms pushed by the GOP or more out-of-control spending. “It’s going to be very challenging if we don’t win seats or lose seats. You want to go back to the old days where Democrats had one-party rule? They basically will have one-party rule again.”
Both Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Dist. 41) and State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Dist. 9) agree that a balanced budget is a must.
Radogno said lawmakers have put the state in a deep financial hole. “It’s not going to be easy to get out, but we absolutely have to. We have to get some predictability if we want the economy to grow, and that’s what will really help is to grow the economy.”
Biss agreed that there needs to be economic growth to help balance the budget, but “it’s not about whether we need to grow the economy, but how to best grow the economy.”
Democrats have resisted Gov. Bruce Rauner’s push for economic reforms that he said will create jobs in manufacturing and other sectors. Rauner has said economic growth will increase revenue for the state, rather than just raising taxes as a way to try and balance the budget.
Lawmakers are scheduled back in Springfield Nov. 15.