© 2024 NPR Illinois
The Capital's Community & News Service
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Republicans Press For Admission To Budget Talks

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, at podium, addresses the media with other Republicans Thursday in the Illinois Statehouse.

Illinois Republican on Thursday were trying to elbow their way back into budget negotiations.

The move comes as lawmakers have just two weeks left in their annual legislative session, with a long to-do list that includes passing a state budget.

There have been several budget frameworks this spring. Gov. J.B. Pritzker kicked off budget season in February with calls for more spending and increased taxes, while Democrats in the House began from a much more austere place, assuming none of the governor's revenue ideas would come to pass.

Then came the April surprise — an unexpected $1.5 billion in tax collections. That has Republicans urging a middle ground.

While they say they’d support some new spending with that extra money, Rep. Grant Wehrli, a Republican from Naperville, says higher taxes should be out of the question.

“Income, cigarettes, bags, video-streaming, vaping — all those should be off the table until we do the hard work and come up with a balanced budget.”

Although Republicans have relatively small minorities in the House and Senate, Democrats say they’d welcome more negotiations.

But House Majority Leader Greg Harris, from Chicago, says Democrats want to make sure the extra money was not a one-time windfall. He also says Illinois has problems that will be expensive to fix.

“In the last year there have been 119 DCFS youths who have passed away, and we can never let that happen again,” Harris said. “Ladies and gentlemen, that is going to take additional revenue.”

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
Related Stories