Members of the Illinois House and Senate will be in Springfield Wednesday, June 29, and everyone is hopeful a deal to fund schools and government operations can be reached.
House members haven’t met all month, despite speaker Michael Madigan saying the House would meet every Wednesday in June. Senate President John Cullerton predicted a budget deal could be had within a week. That was on May 31.
With the next fiscal year to begin July 1, Senate Republican LeaderChristine Radogno said it’s imperative to act immediately on a stopgap measure to fund government services through January. Radogno also said lawmaker should act on full funding for the entire school year.
“The school bill funds all the districts in the state, including Chicago, with more money than they had last year even though districts, and Chicago included, have lost students," she said.
Radogno said Democrats continue to push for another fiscally irresponsible bailout of Chicago Public Schools at the expense of suburban and downstate taxpayers. Cullerton spokesman John Patterson said Cullerton remains optimistic that a bipartisan agreement is close at hand. Without a budget by July 1, Illinoisans could increasingly feel the ramifications. The United Way reports nearly 1 million clients have already been negatively affected because of the budget impasse. Those problems could continue to cascade. The Illinois Lottery would have to stop making payments to winners.
Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch, who is also co-chair of the Transportation for Illinois Coalition, said if there’s no budget, taxpayers will also see empty construction sites.
“Every time they fill up, you’ll still be paying your gas tax yet you won’t be seeing any benefits from those tax dollars because without an appropriation those dollars are going to pile up and not get spent.”
The next fiscal year is set to begin July 1. Appropriation bills now requires a three-fifths vote in both the state House and Senate for passage.