No holiday from ongoing budget battle between Rauner, legislators
The Capitol saw some fireworks of its own on the Fourth of July as the Senate and Gov. Bruce Rauner intensified their ideological feud over how to fund the state.
On Tuesday, the Senate passed a collection of legislation aimed at providing Illinois with a balanced budget: SB6, SB9 and SB42.
Rauner vetoed the bills almost immediately.
“The package of legislation fails to address Illinois’ fiscal and economic crisis — and in fact, makes it worse in the long run,” Rauner said in his veto messages. “It does not balance the budget. It does not make nearly sufficient spending reductions, does not pay down our debt and holds schools hostage to force a Chicago bailout.”
The Senate just as quickly reconvened to override his vetoes, and the House is expected to vote on Thursday on whether to do the same.
“House Democrats look forward to working with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to begin healing the wounds of the last several years,” House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) said in a statement on Wednesday.
Rauner urged lawmakers to uphold his vetoes intact and vowed to do everything he can to maintain them.
“We are doing everything possible to make sure my veto is not overridden,” Rauner said in a question and answer session on Wednesday.
SB9 is a revenue bill that would collect $5.4 billion from permanent 32 percent tax increases. The personal state income tax rate would go to 4.95 percent from 3.75 percent, and the corporate tax rate would increase to 7 percent from 5.25 percent. It passed the Senate 36-18.
SB6 would provide more than $36 billion in funding to the state. It passed the Senate 39-14. SB42 would implement the budget and passed in concurrence with the House, 36-17.
Four Republican Senators supported SB6: Neil Anderson (R-Andalusia), Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg), William “Sam” McCann (R-Plainview ) and Dale Righter (R-Mattoon).
Only Righter voted for SB9, arguing that his district needs a balanced budget and “in the end, you vote your district.”
Newly elected Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) was one of the few who voted against the bill during the Senate debate, arguing that there is still time to go back to the negotiating table to discuss true reforms.
“It’s regrettable that I stand today not capable ofsupporting this package,” Brady said. “Not necessarily because what’s in the package is bad but because it is incomplete. We need a comprehensive solution for this state. We’ve negotiated in good faith on a comprehensive solution and I regret to say that we have not come to a conclusion for that comprehensive solution.”
Rauner also doesn’t believe the package helps anyone.
“What we’ve got to do is what is right for the people of Illinois,” Rauner said. “This tax hike is not right for the people of Illinois. More taxes won’t solve our problems. We’ll be right back into more borrowing, more deficits just like that. This bill, this permanent 32 percent tax hike, will be devastating. It will not solve our problems.”
When the vote was taken upon the House chamber, fifteen House Republicans voted for the income tax increase: Steve Andersson (R-Geneva), Terri Bryant (R- Murphysboro), John Cavaletto (R-Salem), C.D. Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville), Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago), Norine Hammond (R-Macomb), David Harris (R-Arlington Heights), Chad Hays (R-Catlin), Charlie Meier (R-Highland), Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth), Reggie Phillips (R-Charleston), Robert Pritchard (R-Hinckley), Mike Unes (R- East Peoria), Sara Wojcicki Jimenez (R-Leland Grove) and David Reis (R-Ste. Marie).
The back and forth between Rauner and legislators has made many in the state nervous despite positive responses from two prominent agencies, Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings, over the holiday. Illinois has entered its third straight year without a budget. If Rauner's vetoes are overridden, the budget would take effect immediately.
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