Illinois Lawmakers Hold Special Session Amid Budget Impasse

Henrietta Strickland
June 23, 2017

Gov. Bruce Rauner is attempting to frame the debate heading into Wednesday's special session of the Illinois General Assembly.

According to Wikipedia, The House Divided Speech was an address given by Abraham Lincoln on June 16, 1858, at what was then the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield.

The lack of a state budget has had, and will continue to have serious repercussions for the state of IL. "We have been working over several weeks, through the Greg Harris budget team, they have an outline of a spending plan to engage with Republicans, they've engaged with the senate democrats, they'll engage with anyone who wants to engage with them to fashion a spending plan that will be good for all Illinoisans".

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy scoffed at "a few minutes of empty remarks in an empty room".

Brian Mackey reports on a new ad campaign being run by Gov. Bruce Rauner - and how Democrats are reacting. Republicans have presented their plan, as have Senate Democrats.

The pressure is on and not just because the governor says so.

Consolidated customers who would normally receive direct funding or service reimbursements from the state are having trouble getting these payments, Smith said.

Whether there's a budget or not, IL is automatically spending billions more each year than the state is taking in, because of state laws, court orders and agreements, and because legislators haven't passed a spending plan that takes into account the rollback of a temporary income tax increase. Mendoza, the state's chief fiscal officer, has warned for weeks that court ordered payments will soon outnumber the amount of available funds to make those payments. Ratings agencies are threatening to downgrade the state's credit to junk status and schools and senior care centers could be in jeopardy. Battered women's shelters have turned abuse victims away. The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced that all construction work will stop on June 30th. Doctors have gone unpaid for so long, many are considering drastic reductions to their Medicaid population. The Senate adopted a $37.3 billion plan with cuts and an income tax increase.

Both states suffer from high debt and unfunded pension liabilities.

While no state has rebuilt its manufacturing base since the years before the Great Recession began in 2007, IL has clearly been a loss leader in the Midwest jobs department.

Rauner says he wants pro-business reforms in conjunction with a budget.

Legislators returned to Springfield on Wednesday for the first of 10 special session days, which Rauner called for last week in hopes of breaking the impasse.

"It moves us to middle ground on key issues", said Rauner. But if the state budget crisis continues, will this school and all the others in U-46, the second largest school district in the state, have enough money to open in the fall? The crisis he predicted became the bloodiest war in American history.

Rauner says Republicans do have a plan to get the situation under control.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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