Illinois lawmakers have once again failed to pass a budget. Governor Bruce Rauner wrapped up a press conference Wednesday afternoon, expressing his disappointment in the General Assembly’s inability to come up with a balanced budget. Rauner called this a “dereliction of duty,” by the majority – the majority being the democrats. He said this reflects a failure to serve the people of Illinois.
Wednesday was the last day of the legislative session. The deadline for passing a budget was 12:01 a.m.
Rauner expressed that a budget needs to be passed that includes structural changes to grow jobs and help taxpayers. And that this should have been done two years ago.
“We need to protect our taxpayers, especially our homeowners, especially our small business owners and job creators,” Gov Rauner said.
“We have the highest property taxes in America and we should not even be talking about property tax increases unless we pass a property tax freeze of whether property tax goes up or down on our property tax owners.”
"There's not going to be a budget voted on today, discussed today, and that is so upsetting because we've known this is the target," State Rep. Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) said. "For 22 months we've gone without a budget."
State Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville) says there's no budget this time because Rauner apparently made it clear he wasn't going to sign the bill. Hoffman says, as a result, Democrats did not vote.
"I'm disappointed," Hoffman said. "This has been 700 days since the governor has been in office and it's 700 days without a budget."
Rauner blames the Democrats. He says their inability to come up with a balanced budget reflects a failure to serve the people of Illinois.
"They do not like to have balanced budgets, but we've got to live within our means," Rauner said. "It's not fair to our children and grandchildren."
Although the legislative session would end Wednesday night, there is still some time to pass a budget. June 30, 2017, is the deadline. If that doesn't happen, certain services could suffer.
"Senior programs are going to be jeopardized, corrections activities are going to be jeopardized," Hoffman said.
Herb Simmons, the executive director of St. Clair County 911, says public safety would also be jeopardized, with 911 centers shutting down across the state.
"It's really a no-brainer," Simmons said. "We can talk about the budget. School, education, health care, but 911 ranks right up there at the top because you never know when you're going to need it."
"We have to, have to, have to work on a budget," Bourne said.
It will now take a supermajority to pass a budget, meaning 71 votes in the House and 36 votes in the Senate would be needed.
The negotiations will continue throughout the month of June. But, it will now take a supermajority to pass a budget. So, that means 71 votes in the house and 36 votes in the Senate. Both sides say they’ve reached a stalemate and there’s been a lot of finger-pointing.
If the budget is not passed by the end of the fiscal year, June 30, this puts schools, universities, and a host of social services in jeopardy.