Gov. Bruce Rauner, the Republican who arrived in town three years ago and fought established Democrats so hard the state was thrust into fiscal crisis, gave his blessing Thursday to a bipartisan budget plan that lawmakers OK'd and prepared to send his way.
The $38.5 billion spending plan, approved on lopsided bipartisan votes by a General Assembly accustomed to late-May fiscal clashes, won House approval 97-18 Thursday and heads to Rauner.
"We worked together to provide a budget to the people of Illinois that can be balanced with hard work and continued bipartisan effort to deliver on the promises it makes," Rauner said in a statement in which he promised quick action to enact the plan for the year that begins July 1.
The Senate voted 56-2 Wednesday night on the plan that increases elementary and secondary education by $350 million and fully funds the state's pension obligations and $4 billion for state employee group health insurance.