A host of Illinois newspapers printed front page editorial urging lawmakers to pass a budget Wednesday.
The State Journal Register, Peoria Journal Star, Pekin Daily Times and The Pantagraph all claimed Illinoisans have had “enough” of the political standoff in separate editorials that called on the governor and the General Assembly to push beyond stopgap funding measures to pass a full budget.
The Illinois General Assembly reconvened in Springfield Wednesday. Both Democrats and Republicans are expected to introduce stopgap measures to fund K-12 education and other essential government services, like higher education and social services. Meanwhile, Gov. Bruce Rauner is reportedly working on a compromise with party leaders.
If a deal isn’t made, the state’s ongoing budget impasse will likely stretch into its second year Friday. This means schools may not open and state services could shut down after July 1.
The Pantagraph Editorial Board called for immediate action.
“The state needs a budget,” they wrote. “Now. The state needs your leadership over partisanship, beginning today when you return to the state capital for the first time in a month."
The Peoria Journal Star questioned the leadership in Springfield.
“It’s fair to ask, with but hours to go before beginning a new budget year with, as of now, no authority to spend money: What other legitimate business would behave this way? What other workplace would tolerate this without heads rolling,” the paper’s editorial said.
The Pekin Times Editorial Board claimed Illinois’ “most vulnerable citizens have been hung out to dry.”
“To no apparent concern to Gov. Rauner or Speaker Madigan, one million of the most vulnerable Illinoisans have been left to fend for themselves.” the editorial board wrote. "And it’s only getting worse."
The State Journal-Register Editorial Board claimed politicians viewed the fallout as collateral damage.
“Perhaps the most damaging long-term effect is the toxic cynicism and frustration this crisis has created among its residents, who have to wonder at this point if Rauner, Madigan and Cullerton simply view the toll on Illinois’ people as mere collateral damage,” the editorial board wrote.
The Chicago Sun-Times, The Southern Illinoisan, The Register Mall, The Rock Island Argus, Daily Herald, News-Gazette, Journal Gazette and Times-Courier, Daily Journal, Daily Review Atlas, The Carroll County Review and Herald & Review also printed similar front page editorials Wednesday.
Meanwhile, party leaders met with the governor for 3 hours last night in a meeting House Speaker Mike Madigan called "productive." Rauner, Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton, House Minority Leader and Senate Minority Leader reconvened Wednesday morning and are still ironing out a deal in the governor's office.
During a break from the meeting Wednesday, Senate President John Cullerton was cautiously optimistic about the compromise, noting that this was the first time this sort of negotiation had taken place.
“We’re continuing to negotiate with the governor,” Cullerton said. “People are making offers and counter offers and we look forward to continuing this morning to try to come up with a solution.”