Senate Democrats Begin Advancing a Budget — Without Republican Support

May 17, 2017

Illinois Senate Democrats on Wednesday passed part of a budget plan for state government.

If it also passes the House and is signed into law, it would be the first real budget Illinois has had since 20-15. But that’s a big “if.”

While Democrats said they’d negotiated the budget with Republicans, no Republicans voted for it.

GOP Senator Jason Barickman, from Bloomington, says more negotiations are necessary.

“What happened today was a political show, orchestrated by the Democrats, who are trying to portray political agreements that do not yet exist," Barickman said after the vote.

The legislation was part of the Senate’s so-called grand bargain. Republicans are holding out for further cuts in spending, and at least a four-year property tax freeze — in exchange for supporting higher taxes.

The Senate budget plan consists of three bills: one to spend money, one that cuts programs, and one that would raise taxes. Democrats passed the spending bill Wednesday. The bill with cuts failed, and they didn’t even call the tax hike for a vote.

Democrats say time is running out — the annual legislative session is scheduled to end May 31st.

"The issue is: Why did the Republicans not vote for the budget?" Cullerton told reporters. "And if it's because we didn't pass enough reforms, then I need to know specifically just exactly what we didn't pass."

Budget negotiators from both parties are scheduled to meet again at noon Thursday.