Senate Budget Compromise Put On Hold

Jan 10, 2017

Details of a massive, bipartisan compromise meant to end Illinois' budget stalemate emerged Monday in the Illinois Senate. But the plan has been put on hold.

Rube Goldberg would be impressed by this budget plan. It's got cuts to government pensions, six new casino licenses, and a gradual minimum wage hike.

It's also got higher income taxes — up to nearly 5 percent from the current 3.75 percent.

That said, there's plenty of skepticism among rank-and-file legislators like Dale Righter, a Republican senator from Mattoon.

"If legislators come to the ... taxpayers and say, 'You know what, we just need a big tax increase, and we'll tweak the curtains here and a little bit over here, but nothing substantive changes,' I think that there's going to be a rude awakening," Righter says.

But Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno says nobody will like everything in the deal: "In fact, I cautioned my caucus: 'You might want to turn off your phone, because you're going to get inundated from people that don't like pieces of it.'"

The measure appeared to be on a fast track, but Radogno says some of her Republican colleagues were reluctant to vote on such a complicated package in the lame duck session. Now she and Senate President John Cullerton say they'll wait until after new legislators are sworn in on Wednesday.

Illinois has gone more than 18 months without a full budget.