GOP skeptical of House Dems’ proposed budget
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Latest on budget negotiations in Springfield (all times local):
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin says Republicans are reviewing a budget proposed by House Democrats but are skeptical.
Durkin told reporters Tuesday evening that the House Democrats’ proposal is missing pieces, including the revenue part of it. He says he doesn’t trust that it’s a balanced budget.
Democrats have made the same claim about Republicans’ proposed spending plan.
Durkin also accuses House Speaker Michael Madigan of added new demands in the final days of the legislative session as lawmakers are trying to hammer out a budget deal before July 1 when the new fiscal year begins. Democrats have also accused Republicans of the same thing.
If there’s no budget by Saturday, the impasse will enter a third straight year.
If Illinois legislators don’t approve a budget this week, lottery players in the state won’t get jackpots over $25,000.
The same thing happened in 2015, the year the budget impasse began. Lottery players sued and the state lost millions of dollars in lost sales. The Legislature had to approve a plan to let the Illinois Lottery make payouts.
State lottery officials have already said that the multi-state Powerball and Mega Millions games have threatened to drop Illinois if the state doesn’t have a spending plan.
Lawmakers are meeting in special session at the Capitol. If they don’t agree to a budget before Saturday, Illinois will enter a third straight fiscal year without a budget.
Leaders of the Illinois General Assembly are scoping a budget plan from House Democrats that would raise income taxes and make deep spending cuts.
Democratic Senate President John Cullerton of Chicago emerged from a Tuesday afternoon meeting of Democratic and Republican leaders of the General Assembly. He says the plan presented at the meeting is very similar to one the Senate OK’d in May. It would raise about $5 billion from an income tax increase and spending cuts would exceed $3 billion.
Republican leaders did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The state has been without a budget since 2015. Agreement on spending and revenue does not guarantee a deal because both sides continue to negotiate non-budget issues demanded by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Lawmakers are scurrying because the new fiscal year begins Saturday.
House Democrats have advanced a statewide property tax freeze to appease the Republican governor and get a budget before Saturday’s deadline.
The Revenue and Finance Committee approved the measure 7-1 Tuesday. The four-year freeze moves to the House floor.
Gov. Bruce Rauner has insisted that property taxes be held in check as part of a budget deal. The state has had no annual spending plan for two years and another fiscal year begins Saturday.
The Democrats’ plan would prohibit most local governments from increasing taxes.
Notable exceptions include Chicago, its schools and 17 other financially distressed districts. Also, the freeze would not apply to many city governments struggling to pay debt or make contributions to police and fire pensions.