Taxpayers could be on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars if the governor calls for a special session to pass a budget, as one lawmaker has requested.
Just before adjourning a short session Thursday, Democratic Representative Jack Franks said the governor should call a special session for next week.
“I know the governor will be giving his address next week on the budget,” Franks said, “and it’ll be surreal because he’ll be giving a budget address at a time for next year when we don’t even have a budget for this year.”
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Franks requested the governor “keep both the Senate and the House in continuously until we finish the budget.”
When asked earlier this week why he doesn’t call a special session to put together a budget, Governor Bruce Rauner said forcing members to Springfield doesn’t work.
“That was tried by other governors, and forcing four leader meetings was tried by other governors, it doesn’t work,” Rauner said. “What they should do is their job. They should be in here passing a budget.”
“Our citizens deserve better than what we’re giving,” Franks said “and I’d call upon the governor to keep the House and Senate in until we get a budget done.”
However, Governor Rauner said lawmakers haven’t taken up any of his proposed reform ideas like term limits, redistricting, workers’ comp or a property tax freeze with local cost controls.
“And many of their members know that we need reforms as part of a budget,” Rauner said, “and they're just not doing their job.”
If the governor calls a special session for each of the 177 legislators, each would get their per diem and travel reimbursement at an estimated cost to taxpayers of over $45,000 each day.