Rauner urges legislators to hammer out budget by fiscal year's end next week
Gov. Bruce Rauner urged Illinois legislators to return to Springfield and pass a new budget on Monday. The new fiscal year begins on Friday, July 1, but there is no budget to ensure that schools, social services and other services will continue through the upcoming year.
At the close of the Assembly's spring session, House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Dist. 22) said lawmakers would meet every Wednesday to hammer out a budget; this has not happened so far. Madigan canceled he first three sessions. Senate President John Cullerton (D-Dist. 6) also indicated that the senators would meet to work on the budget, but no meetings have been scheduled.
The Illinois Republican Party reacted strongly to the latest workshop cancellation, pointing out that Rauner won't back down and sign an unbalanced budget.
“It’s become painfully obvious that Mike Madigan’s declaration that the House will remain ‘in continuous session’ and meet each Wednesday was a lie," Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Steven Yaffe said.
Rauner remains willing to work with the Legislature on a reasonable tax increase in exchange for policy changes that promote a more business-friendly atmosphere in Illinois, including changes in workers' compensation insurance and pension reforms.
"If Madigan were interested in getting a deal done before the election, he would call legislators back to session immediately," Yaffe said. "Instead, he has decided that holding schoolchildren, government operations and prisons hostage is OK if it means he can force a massive tax increase and a bailout of CPS (Chicago Public Schools) with no reform. Madigan has driven Illinois into the ground for three decades – it appears he is content to do that for yet another year.”
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