Illinois Lawmakers Closing in On Budget Agreement

After years of squabbling that left budgets undone and agencies scrambling, momentum could be building in the Illinois legislature to get a budget deal done before Thursday night’s deadline.

The Illinois Senate is considering a budget compromise bill, and will likely vote on the measure Wednesday night. The House could then follow suit on Thursday, with only a simple majority needed to pass the agreement.

It’s unclear what’s causing the sense of urgency in Springfield to come to an agreement on the budget, but with the November election looming and voters potentially tired of political gridlock in the state capital, a spirit of cooperation is in the air.

“Whatever it was, I hope we can continue to do it every year,” Rep. Greg Harris said. “This is how it should be done. We lived within our means with no new taxes.”

The new budget deal, totalling $38.5 billion, would see spending cuts for prisons in the state, but would also see funding increases for education. The bill also includes $250 million to renovate the Quincy Veterans Home, where 13 people have died amidst outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease.

Although the vote will be close, it does appear that there is enough support to push the measure across the goal line, even though officials like State Rep. David McSweeney oppose the bill.

“I want to cut spending. We’re losing people from this state,” he said. “I’m here to stand up for the taxpayers.” 

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