Local Lawmakers React to Illinois’ Budget

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The State of Illinois went 736 days without a budget, however one was officially passed on July 6 following over two weeks of special legislative session in the capitol.

After the budget package was approved by lawmakers, Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed it on July 4. However, both the Illinois House and Senate voted to override his veto.

The new budget spends over $36 billion this fiscal year, partially funded by a sizeable tax increase. The personal income tax rate goes from 3.75 to 4.95 percent, a 32 percent increase. And the corporate tax rate goes from 5.25 to 7 percent.

Republican State Senator Michael Connelly, who voted “no” on both the budget and the veto override, issued a statement on the budget passing which said in part:

“We had an incredible opportunity to find compromise on a budget and reforms that would put our state on track. Instead, we are left with a plan that does not include property tax relief, workers’ compensation reform, or one that adequately address our $130 billion pension debt.”

Republican Representative Grant Wehrli also voted “no” on the budget.

“We simply cannot continue to shovel money into state government without reforms. I understand that we do need revenue to get out of this mess, but to do it without those reforms is simply irresponsible,” said Wehrli, in an interview conducted before the budget was officially voted into law.

However democratic State Representative Stephanie Kifowit, who voted “yes” on both measures, feels that passing the budget was a necessary step for Illinois.

“We had to stop the impasse so that the State of Illinois could start functioning again. This is the first step in getting the State of Illinois back on track and there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done, and hopefully we can get things, more items done in a bi-partisan fashion with people working together,” said Kifowit in a phone interview conducted immediately after the House veto vote.

Illinois’ budget impasse was the longest for any state in our nation’s history. During the budget impasse, Illinois racked up $15 billion in past due bills.

Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers reports.