It was déjà vu at the Illinois State Capitol on May 31 as the General Assembly adjourned once again without passing a truly balanced budget or some of the critical structural reforms needed to bring jobs and financial stability back to the state. While Senate Republicans had made real attempts this spring to engage in bipartisan negotiations with Democrats on a truly balanced budget and reforms, the Legislature adjourned without completing that work.
Throughout the spring session, Republicans participated in countless budget meetings, and remained willing to compromise on crucial reform measures like property tax relief, pension reform, and education funding reform. A “Grand Bargain” seemed within reach but, instead of embracing these good-faith negotiations, Democrat leaders chose a go-it-alone approach to governing.
This go-it-alone style of governing means pushing an unbalanced budget accompanied by a massive income tax hike, a flawed and inequitable bailout for Chicago Public Schools (CPS), watered-down workers’ compensation reform, and no meaningful property tax relief.
Senate Republican said there is still time to get this done before July 1, if both sides of the aisle are willing to come back to the table and continue working to reach the compromise that was so close this spring. However, passing any budget package becomes more difficult after May 31; now it requires three-fifths majority support, as opposed to a simple majority to pass legislation to the Governor.