Illinois Democrats Pass Budget Proposal in Senate

May 23, 2017



Sens. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, and Heather Steans, D-Chicago, introducing the new budget proposal in a Senate hearing.
Credit WUIS

The Illinois Senate passed a budget package Tuesday after a similar plan failed last week. The difference was several new “yes” votes from liberal Democrats. No Republicans supported either plan.

Democrats say their new legislation uses spending levels from Gov.Bruce Rauner’s budget proposal. Part of the plan is a 30-percent increase to the state income tax rate.

The new proposal would make the higher income tax rate permanent, and would not include any property tax freeze.

Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, said Tuesday’s vote is theater on the part of Democrats.

“You folks will get up and express your need to say, ‘Wow, we gotta get this done,’ and then when you are done with that — come back. We will still be sitting at the table ready to talk about a bipartisan solution to these things,” Righter said.

Democrats say their budget plan is based on proposals from the governor and Republicans. Senate President John Cullerton says that should be a win for the governor.

“I don’t think he’s going to criticize this budget, and he really can’t criticize the taxes that he asked for,” Cullerton said.

But he already has, tweeting before the vote he won’t sign a budget that doesn’t include relief for property taxes.

Cullerton says he’s open to more negotiations on property taxes.

The legislation now goes to the House. House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, released a statement saying the proposal will be “considered thoughtfully.”