Friday, June 30 is the deadline for Illinois lawmakers to pass a balanced budget. As it stands, the General Assembly will not be meeting its timeline and will have to come back on Saturday.
Lawmakers said a lot of progress has been made. With an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 90-25, the Illinois House adopted an amendment to Senate Bill 6, which lays out the spending plan for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The framework allows for $3.7 billion spending plan.
“That's a great step forward,” said Representative Jay Hoffman (D), with the 113th district. “I think it shows that individuals are willing to work across party lines to end this budget crisis.”
On the opposite side of the aisle, a similar sentiment was shared.
"So, this morning was a sign of good faith, that both sides are working together to find a mutually agreeable solution to move our state forward in the most responsible way,” said Avery Bourne (R), representing the 95th district.
But, both lawmakers admit, there is still a lot left that has to be done. The House still must vote on SB 6. It also has to vote on a revenue bill. Both of these items need to pass in the Senate and then will go to the governor’s desk for approval.
"We're looking to see real negotiated bills that not only are moving us forward [with regard to the budget], but also reforms that are going to move our state in the right direction,” explained Bourne.
“Because that is what our caucus has said, we will not put votes to raise taxes if we do not see significant reforms that our state is moving in the right direction,” she said.
“We now need to get the governor to come on board,” said Hoffman.
“He [the Governor] continues to demand non-budgetary items that don’t have anything to do with the budget before he will discuss the budget. I think the budget should be our #1 priority.”
Speaker of the House, Michael J. Madigan released a statement, saying in light of the ongoing discussion, and the progress that has being made, he is reaching out to bond rating agencies to ask that they temporarily “withhold judgment,” as lawmakers work to settle the budget.”
For the remainder of Friday, the House was adjourned. Members continued to meet in small groups. Speaker Madigan called for the House to remain in session. So, everyone will be back to work Saturday at 11A.M. That’s when lawmakers expect voting to resume.