In the last day of the legislative session Tuesday, Illinois Democrats seemed more successful at scuttling each other’s plans than they were taking care of the state's business.
They failed to pass a budget for the second year in a row, or even a standalone spending plan for schools.
Senate Democrats overwhelmingly voted down Speaker Michael Madigan’s $40 billion state budget proposal. House Democrats returned the favor with a crushing defeat of the Senate's plan to send an additional $900 million to Illinois schools.
Republican voted against both ideas. House Republican leader Jim Durkin said lawmakers don't need to rush into bad ideas. “Vote no, so we can have a sincere discussion on breaking the (budget) impasse,” Durkin told lawmakers.
Not a single Republican voted for either the school funding measure (Republicans said it bailed out Chicago Public Schools with almost $500 million) or the Democratic state budget (Republicans said it was $7 billion out of balance.)
Still, Senate President John Cullerton said he was optimistic. “I hope to have a budget, a real budget signed by the governor, within a week.”
Lawmakers have until July 1 when the new budget year starts. It now requires a three-fifths majority to pass a budget instead of a simple majority.