Will Democrats try to pass a comprehensive $36 billion budget in an attempt to, as one Republican lawmaker said, put the governor in a box?


Though Democrats have not filed any such measure, state Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, told WMAY Springfield he’s hearing the majority party may try to move on a comprehensive spending bill that would force the governor to use his line-item veto.


If that does happen, Butler said he’d encourage the governor to bring the budget down to $32 billion, “saying we as Republicans are being responsible, living within our means, and we’re not going to foist a tax increase on the citizens of Illinois.”


Assistant Majority Leader Elaine Nekritz, a Democratic state representative from Buffalo Grove, said she hasn’t heard anything of the sort.

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“It may be that Rep. Butler is having caucuses with Democrats that I’m not a party to and I’m not aware of,” Nekritz said.


Nekritz said she isn’t aware of any general discussion about a plan similar to that described by Butler.


Meanwhile, with less than three months left in the current fiscal year, there’s still no budget.


Nekritz said her colleagues are sick of the gamesmanship and said it’s time to get something done with the budget.


“They don’t want to talk anymore about what if. They want to talk about what are we going to do and when are we going to do it,” Nekritz said.


Butler said there are all kinds of ideas on how to fund programs for the current fiscal year.


“Republicans are offering alternatives to get us through this situation,” Butler said.


Last week leading Republicans, state Sen. Christine Radogno from Lemont, and state Rep. Jim Durkin from Burr Ridge, offered up a $1.3 billion spending bill to fund a variety of human services they say will be paid for with savings from pension reforms, not tax increases.


Lawmakers return to Springfield today.


(Copyright WBGZ / www.AltonDailyNews.com)