While the leading House Democrat says there must be a balanced approach of some cuts and more revenue, Republicans says the balance must include political and economic reforms.
In the aftermath of Wednesday’s State of the State speech from Governor Bruce Rauner, Speaker Michael Madigan talked about taking a balanced approach of cuts -- including a bill to reduce state funds for Medicaid -- and also tax increases.
“I’ve said consistently that what we need to do is some cuts in state spending such as Senate Bill 788, which would have reduced the Medicaid program by $400 million,” Madigan said. “But at the same time I’ve said publicly that I would be prepared to support more taxes on the wealthy.”
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“I’m prepared to do that,” Madigan said. “But it’s gotta be a balanced approach.”
Leading Republican Senator Christine Radogno said there’s one thing missing in Madigan’s balanced approach -- reforms.
“I didn’t hear one word about being willing to come together to talk about the things that the governor has talked about in terms of long-term reform for this state,” Radogno said.
Radogno went on to interpret what she heard from Madigan’s “balanced approach.” “What I saw once again is a brick wall. ‘I’m willing to do it, as long as it doesn’t impact the status quo and the people that are in office, whatsoever’.”
Governor Bruce Rauner has said tax increases alone won’t fix the state’s financial problems and is pushing for economic reforms he says will make Illinois grow and increase the tax base. Among those reforms are a property tax freeze while giving local governments tools to control costs, reforms to tort law and also reforms to workers’ compensation.
Leading Democrats contend the reforms would lower the status of the middle class while the governor says they will boost the economy and create more jobs.
The governor is also pushing for political reforms like term limits and reforms to how political maps are drawn.
Illinois is now seven full months into the fiscal year without a balanced budget and is spending billions more than it’s expected to bring in.