Madigan Promises House Vote on Tax Bill Sunday | NBC Chicago
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Madigan Promises House Vote on Tax Bill Sunday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    (Published Saturday, July 1, 2017)

    Facing a firestorm of criticism from angry Republicans after he announced there would be no votes on Sunday, House Speaker Michael Madigan abruptly reversed course and said he would call a tax bill for a vote. 

    It was not clear if Madigan had enough support for passage, as Illinois entered its third year without a budget.  And House Republican Leader James Durkin said he had made no deals.

    "There is no agreement on a comprehensive budget package that includes reforms and revenue," Durkin said in a statement.  "This impasse can only be resolved in a negotiated manner.  It is our hope that Democrats will remain at the negotiating table."

    Whatever the outcome of the House vote, there will be no deal Sunday.  The Illinois Senate adjourned Saturday afternoon, and announced they would not even return to the Capitol until Monday.

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    Earlier, the rancor of the lengthy budget negotiations boiled over on the House floor,  where Madigan announced his intention to go today and tomorrow without voting on anything.

    "There will be a session tomorrow," Madigan advised members.  "I do not believe any bills will be called tomorrow."

    That did not sit well with House Republicans

    "I still believe this matter could be done very quickly," Durkin declared as his GOP colleagues stood and applauded.  "I want this done today."

    As Madigan strode from the chamber, Representative Grant Wehrli of Naperville shouted, "Speaker Junk!", a reference to the state's potential junk bond status if a budget solution is not found soon.

    Democrats shouted that Wehrli was out of line.  But a few hours later Republicans from both the House and Senate appeared in the press room declaring they thought genuine progress was being made, only to see it grind to a halt.

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    "The thing that is new now, that is different than it was this morning, and is different than it was last night, is Speaker Madigan's desire to put the brakes on negotiations that seemingly were moving toward a bipartisan resolution," said Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

    At midday, Senator Christine Radogno, the outgoing Senate minority leader, reacted with surprise when she was told of Madigan's intentions not to vote on anything.

    "The fact that he has admitted that we are not going to land the plane before the state gets to junk bond status is very disappointing," she said. 

    Madigan has written letters to bond houses asking them for extra time before downgrading the state's bond rating, but Radogno called that "nonsense" and nothing more than an effort at "political cover".

    Even before Madigan reversed course and announced he would call a vote on a tax bill, Democrats countered that real work was being done, but that there was no point bringing the members into session if the bills weren't ready. 

    Senator Donne Trotter accused the media of promoting a "false narrative" that progress wasn't being made.

    Still, those with genuine stakes in the game wondered aloud why lawmakers didn't seem to be working harder on a solution.

    "It seems to me the attitude of the leadership is they just don't care what the public thinks," said Don McKinney, superintendent of an elementary school district in Calumet City.

    McKinney said he had brought his teenage daughter to the Capitol hoping to see history made.  What they saw instead, was name calling on the House floor.

    "They act worse than the children I work with," he said.

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