Durkin says state budget fails taxpayers once again
Two years of legislative hard work and negotiations on a state budget ended in failure, Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) suggested recently.
“Is this the best that we can achieve?" Durkin argued during House debate before the budget passed. "Is this the best that we can deliver? Is this the best that we can accomplish for some 13 million residents of the state of Illinois? You’ve heard about the different responsibilities and the obligations of the state … but it should not always be predicated upon more taxpayer sacrifice.”
After the debate, the House voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's vetoes of SB6, SB9 and SB42, giving lllinois its first budget since 2015.
The bills will provide Illinois with a $36 billion spending plan made possible in part by a permanent 32 percent increase on individual and corporate taxes. Illinoisans will now pay 4.95 percent instead of 3.75 percent on personal income and corporations will pay 7 percent instead of 5.25 percent.
The Senate passed the bills on the Fourth of July. As promised, Rauner vetoed the measures. The Senate then voted to override his vetoes, and the House followed suit a few days later, though many Republicans, including Durkin, voted against the overrides.
“These votes will be over soon, and I will not be supporting the override motions today,” Durkin said before the vote. “I do ask this question: Does today’s votes reflect the desires of our citizens and how we spend their money? Yes, their money. Their money from their hard work and sweat.”
House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) needed 71 votes to approve the overrides. SB9 passed 71-42, SB6 passed 74-37 and SB42 passed 71-41. Durkin voted against the overrides.
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider agreed with Durkin.
“Passing a 32 percent tax increase on the hard-working families of Illinois without any semblance of reform is absolute insanity,” Schneider said. “It hasn’t worked before, and it won’t work now.”
DuPage GOP Chairman Brian Krajewski said he also was disappointed.
“After two long years without a state budget, the General Assembly rammed through a permanent 32 percent tax increase without any real reforms,” Krajewski said. “Almost all of our state legislators from DuPage County voted against it, but the Democrats – with a few downstate Republican support – were unfortunately able to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto.”
Durkin concluded that despite the vote, he hopes lawmakers can continue to work together to fix the state.
“We all know that the work is not done,” Durkin said. “Our legacy must not be determined on today’s action. My desire is that it will be determined on what we must do together as a body in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.”