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Past Due: Can Lawmakers And The Governor Strike A Grand Budget Bargain?

State Sen. Matt Murphy
WUIS/Illinois Issues

This is Past Due, a look at big picture budget issues facing Illinois. Lawmakers have returned from their spring break, and one topic is on everyone’s mind: the budget.

Democrats want more revenue, which would likely mean some version of a tax increase. Some Republicans say they would consider it, but they want business friendly reforms passed first. This week, you will hear Jamey Dunn chat with two senators who serve on budgeting committees, one a Democrat and one a Republican.

Sen. Matt Murphy says he thinks Republicans will play more of a role in the process than they have in recent years, especially as supporters of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s pro-business agenda. The governor is calling for changes to the state’s workers compensation system and public employee pensions, among other things.

Democratic Sen. Dan Kotowski voiced concerns about Rauner’s proposed budget, which includes deep cuts to higher education and human services. He wants the governor to propose new revenues and not balance the budget exclusively though cuts.

While they disagree on many points, both Murphy and Kotowski are optimistic that the Democratically-controlled legislature and the Republican governor can reach some compromises. Lawmakers only have roughly seven weeks to bridge those gaps before the scheduled end of the regular legislative session.

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