nsucurrent.com February 22, 2018

Illinois Legislature to Miss Midnight Deadline to Pass Budget

03 July 2017, 01:33 | Violet Powell

House passes $5 billion tax increase, $36.5 billion spending plan; Rauner vows veto

Illinois House reaches $5 billion breakthrough on budget

House Speaker Michael Madigan, who called Friday's vote a "good step forward, a step we can build upon", said lawmakers would return to the Capitol on Saturday to continue spending-and-revenue work, but also to negotiate pet issues demanded for two years by the first-term governor, such as freezing local property taxes. "We are close. We are so close, I can taste it".

The measure increased the monthly 911 telephone surcharge to $5 from $3.90 in Chicago and hiked the rate to $1.50 from 87 cents across the rest of the state.

The two sides appeared to be getting closer to an agreement when almost two dozen Republicans joined Democrats in voting Friday for an amendment to a budget bill that seeks to spend about $36.5 billion.

The proposal awaiting final House approval is similar to a Senate fiscal plan, meaning the House plan would need Senate concurrence.

"We're going into very unsafe territory", Dunn said.

"Even the Senate Democrats have not necessarily agreed to the spending plan that the [House] did", Syverson said. "Responsible cuts. And reforms that are going to put IL back on track", Durkin said.

The 2017 fiscal year ended at midnight last night without the legislature agreeing to a budget outline and revenue plan to pay for it.

Nevertheless, Democratic Rep. Greg Harris says IL is "peering into the darkness", and calls Friday's scheduled votes "a moment of truth".

Advocacy groups on all sides are calling on state lawmakers to stop the bickering and break the gridlock that affects residents of all ages and walks of life.

"Not just to get passage, but to bring us past 71", he said. Because I'm telling you: We are close. "As a result, the House will remain in session. We're going to save our state together", Rep. Steve Anderson (R-Geneva) said, wearing a blue tie in a show of solidarity with Democrats. "Saying that we're done today, come back tomorrow.to me, it speaks for itself". Pat Quinn's temporary tax increase. Colleges in the state may not be able to offer financial aid and lottery ticket sales, and infrastructure construction could stop. "Today, the Republicans in the General Assembly raised the white flag to a massive tax increase".

The deadline is important because credit rating agencies have threatened to downgrade the state's creditworthiness - this time to "junk" status - if a budget isn't in place before the start of the next fiscal year.

The budget crisis has crippled social services that rely on state money, from mental health services and Meals on Wheels for homebound seniors to domestic violence support centers.

On Saturday, the state will begin its third year without a full balanced budget, but there's new hope of a bipartisan resolution in the next few days.

Kathy Countryman, superintendent at Sycamore School District 427, said there are no plans to delay the opening of Sycamore's schools, but is very concerned on how a property tax freeze and a lack of categorical funding may affect the district.

"Obviously, things are heading in the wrong direction", McSweeney said.

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