While Republican lawmakers have been seeking opportunities to create jobs, fix a corrupt political system and mend a failing state economy, Democrat lawmakers have spent the final days of the legislative session working to pass a budget that is $4 billion out of balance.
Despite Republican objections, on May 27 Senate Democrats knowingly moved forward with an unconstitutionally unbalanced spending plan. Their plan calls for more than $36 billion in total spending, more than $4 billion over projected revenues of about $32 billion.
Democrats have acknowledged their budget will not fully fund state government for an entire year, and have advocated for a tax increase as a way to fill the multi-billion dollar hole. Republicans, led by Governor Rauner, have consistently said that reform discussions must come before any conversation about new revenue.
Governor Rauner and Illinois Republicans have repeatedly offered to negotiate and compromise on the state’s fiscal issues, beginning with discussions centered on much-needed structural reforms to state government. However, repeated attempts to work in good faith with Illinois Democrats were rebuffed in favor of the same failed budget policies that have dominated Illinois finances for more than a decade.
The spending bills passed by Senate Democrats now move to the Illinois House of Representatives for consideration. Senate lawmakers are expected to vote on the remainder of the Democrat’s broken budget in the coming days.