MADIGAN SAYS DEMS TO PASS ILLINOIS BUDGET FOR GOV. RAUNER TO BALANCE
Speaker Madigan called a rare news conference at the Capital late Monday afternoon and repeated the charge he has made for several months, that Governor Rauner’s proposed budget is reckless.
Madigan said the Republican governor’s budget counted over $2 billion in savings that will not happen now that the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled the state’s pension reform law is unconstitutional.
So Madigan said he and Senate President John Cullerton and their Democratic caucuses will offer their own budget for fiscal year 2016 which begins on July 1.
There are Democratic Party supermajorities in each chamber, so presumably the Madigan/Cullerton budget can be passed before the May 31 regular session deadline.
Madigan said that the Democratic budget as offered would not include new taxes and would be presented to the governor as unbalanced.
“We will publicly acknowledge that we don’t have the money to pay for this budget, that there will be a shortfall in this budget, but we’re prepared to work with the Governor, to negotiate with the Governor to raise the money so that there’s a balanced budget,” Madigan said.
Since his budget speech in February, the governor has insisted on structural changes to workers compensation and Medicaid, right to work zones, a property tax freeze and other reforms before he’ll talk about new taxes.
“Speaker Madigan and the politicians he controls are walking away from the negotiating table and refusing to compromise on critical reforms needed to turnaround Illinois,” a Rauner spokesman said in a statement issued Monday afternoon. “Instead, they appear ready to end the regular session with yet another broken budget or massive tax hike-and no structural reforms.”
Rauner, the businessman who broke the Democrat’s hold on the governor’s office last fall greeted voters at a Memorial Day event in Elwood Monday morning. He is taking his case for reform directly to the people.
“I love it, I love being with the people,” Rauner said. “I’m working for all the people of Illinois.”
Several reform bills favored by the governor will be heard in several House and Senate committees this week. But Speaker Madigan said Monday the focus at this late date should be on getting a budget passed and not on the Rauner “turnaround” agenda.