Don't expect any legislative movement this month on creating a budget -- even if February does have an extra day this year.
Lawmakers in both chambers aren’t scheduled back in session until March 1st. That will put the state a full 8 months into the fiscal year without a full budget. Democratic Senator Daniel Biss said he’s hopeful that there will be some resolution to the impasse but said the governor is holding things up.
“The governor is trying to promote a radical agenda,” Biss said.
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Leading Republican Representative Jim Durkin said personalities seem to be getting in the way and he wants Democrat leaders to consider giving the governor broader budget authority.
“I’m just saying don’t just summarily throw it out,” Durkin said, “and what I’ve proposed is clearly open for negotiation.”
Durkin said Republican lawmakers have given Democrat governors, and the other way around, broader budget authority in times of financial stress.
After Governor Bruce Rauner’s budget address last week Democratic Representative Ken Dunkin said it’s no longer a partisan issue and it’s time for lawmakers to get something done.
“There’s no excuses for us not doing our budget,” Dunkin said.
Meanwhile Republican Representative Tom Morrison says there are some things that lawmakers could find common ground.
“It seems like workers’ comp is something that keeps coming up as an area of compromise,” Morrison said. “Relief on unfunded mandates, seems like that’s an area we can compromise.”
Taxpayers are on the hook for a deficit expected to be in the billions of dollars because of court orders and consent decrees in the absence of a full budget.