Illinois lawmakers agreed on how much money will be available for next year's budget on Wednesday, setting the stage for potentially inflammatory battles over what the state can actually afford to spend on services.
The state Senate overwhelmingly approved a revenue estimate of $33.7 billion, which is about $200 million less than Gov. Pat Quinn's estimate. The House previously had approved the figure, which is an upper limit for the fiscal year that starts July 1. But a chunk of the money will go to paying pensions and old bills, leaving less for day-to-day government services.
Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, praised the "bipartisan, bicameral effort" to produce a realistic revenue estimate, which is about $500 million above last year's level.
"We as Republicans will want to keep that spending number down so that we can allocate the difference ... toward paying old bills," said Radogno, sponsor of the revenue estimate.
She said holding down spending will increase the Republicans' chances of achieving their goal of rolling back the state income tax rate.
Copyright Associated Press