Winger calls for Madigan to 'bring this budget discussion forward'
Following Gov. Bruce Rauner' s speech Tuesday night encouraging unity to tackle the budget impasse, Rep. Christine Winger (R-Wood Dale) said time is of the utmost importance.
"We only have 10 days left," Winger told DuPage Policy Journal. "This budget crisis has to come to an end."
Winger said standing in the way of the General Assembly approving a budget is House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago).
"In May, the Senate sent over compromised budget legislation to the House," Winger said. "The House Republicans have presented a budget that the governor supports. It is time for Speaker Madigan to bring this budget discussion forward so we can use these Special Session days wisely and effectively, and bring this crisis to an end."
Rauner’s brief speech sought to encourage legislators to overcome partisanship and spur action on a balanced budget during a 10-day special session that starts today.
“Right now, our state is in real crisis, and the actions we take in the days ahead will determine how history remembers us,” Rauner said. “We can all do better. We must all do better for the citizens of Illinois.”
The governor called on Democrats and Republicans to support a proposed budget plan that strikes a workable balance, funding necessary services, setting a plan for reducing property taxes, cutting spending, limiting expenses, reducing the debt and setting term limits for elected officials.
The Republican plan would raise $5 billion in taxes to pay overdue bills and fund services, while imposing a hard spending cap of $36 billion. The plan also includes a four-year property tax freeze.
“If we can agree to pass it, this plan will send a message across our state and around the nation that we are serious about making Illinois a more attractive destination for investment, new businesses and new jobs,” he said. “Failure to act is not an option. Failure to act may cause permanent damage to our state that will take years to overcome.”
John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, said in a statement that the compromise “is a mistake.”
“This compromise means your paycheck will get smaller, and the state will continue to spend far beyond its means,” he said. “That is not a compromise. That is a failure.”
He said Illinois must seek reforms as well, because a balanced budget alone won’t be enough..
“It’s time to stand up and demand loud and clear what we want: a budget that dramatically changes our state government, turns our whole state system upside down,” Tillman said. “We need a balanced budget without a tax hike that makes spending for the poor and disadvantaged … its No. 1 priority.”
Pressure is mounting with just 10 days before the next fiscal year starts on July 1. If the state doesn’t pass a budget by then, it could see its credit rating fall further and lose the Powerball and Mega Millions lottery games, according to reports.
It would be the third straight year without a full budget in place.
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