Ill. House speaker vows override of budget veto

Michele Moreno
July 4, 2017

IL is the only state to ever go two years without passing a budget, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.

However, Governor Rauner issued a statement immediately following the vote, stating his intentions to veto the tax increase if it is not accompanied by business-friendly reforms.

Illinois' Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed big, permanent increases in income tax rates and a $36 billion fiscal 2018 spending plan on Sunday with the help of some Republican votes as the cash-strapped state scrambled to stave off a bond rating downgrade to junk.

Attention turns Monday to the Senate, where lawmakers will consider the budget measures approved by the House a day earlier.

Indeed, Rep. David Harris, R-Arlington Heights, voted in favor of the tax bill, saying Sunday that he was not elected "to preside over the financial destruction of this state". Andersson says the vote had to take place right away because of the looming threat of a downgrade from which IL might never have been able to recover. "[But] it's the fiscally responsible thing to do". However, in a state released Sunday, Governor Rauner says he will veto both bills.

However, the Senate is scheduled to return to Springfield Monday.

The vote was risky for many lawmakers given that 2018 election robocalls and campaign mailers have already been making their way into constituents' voice mail and mailboxes. Bob Pritchard of Hinckley, who said the vote was borne of pragmatism. Vernon. "We have an opportunity to keep our state afloat and stop being an embarrassment", said Lou Lang, D-Skokie.

"We have a balanced budget". Pat Quinn's failed tax increase in 2011, which many argued did little to improve Illinois' economic stability.

While 15 Republicans supported the tax increase, most opposed it. Republicans like Rep. David McSweeney, from Barrington Hills, say it would hurt businesses and prompt more people to leave IL.

House republican leader Jim Durkin accused Speaker Michael Madigan of filing changes with just 15 minutes notice, putting any hope of a budget even farther out of reach.

The Illinois House has approved a 1.2 percentage-point increase in the state income tax.

Democrats said that negotiations continue with the GOP over Rauner's demands, including the statewide property tax freeze, cost-cutting measures to the workers' compensation program for injured employees and cuts to pension benefits to reduce a ballooning deficit. The state is also carrying a $6.2 billion annual deficit and $14.7 billion in overdue bills. Democrats have said that is $800 million less than what Rauner himself proposed last winter.

Hays said the threat of seeing the state's credit rating plunge to junk-bond status, plus nearly $15 billion in unpaid bills, were factors that influenced his vote for a tax increase.

Other reports by Insurance News

Discuss This Article