The fallout from the Illinois General Assembly failing to reach a budget compromise by midnight Wednesday was swift.
Illinois now has the lowest credit rating for a US state on record. Standard and Poors cuts Illinois’ debt rating by one notch, now at just above “junk.” S & P also put Illinois on the CreditWatch negative. Gov. Bruce Rauner says the failure to reach a budget deal is “so frustrating, so disappointing.” The state has a $14 billion budget hole.
Rauner insists he’s not being inflexible in his demands for reforms before he agrees to an income tax hike as well as expansion of sales taxes. The governor says “I’ve been as flexible as possible, but what we can’t do is just give up and do phony reforms that are a headline and do a massive tax hike.”
House Speaker Mike Madigan says lawmakers will hold budget hearings in June, but the governor calls those hearings a sham.
The new deadline to reach a budget deal is June 30th, just one day before the start of the new fiscal year. However, lawmakers don’t expect to return to the State Capitol until days before the deadline.
Senate President John Cullerton says “I’m obviously ready to continue to negotiate and continue to work to try to pass a budget. We’re going to start to see some real pain now.”