The Illinois General Assembly enters its final day of the spring session halfway to sending Gov. Bruce Rauner what both Democrats and Republicans say is a balanced budget.
The Senate voted 56-2 on a $38.5 billion spending plan Wednesday night. It’s for the budget year that begins July 1.
The action moves the plan to the House. Negotiators there have been in on Senate discussions so it's likely to get a thumbs-up there.
Senate debate was immersed in collegiately and compliments. They replaced the rancor of the past three years. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats controlling the General Assembly couldn't agree on a budget during Rauner's first two years. Lawmakers forced him to accept a plan with an income-tax increase last summer.
You see that vote of 56 to 2? Two no votes. Two. (Bivins, McCarter both Republicans). For Illinois lately (heck, for most states) that is unheard of budget bipartisanship. https://t.co/RkShYCBYfh
— Amanda Vinicky (@AmandaVinicky) May 31, 2018
State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, supported the budget. He said it would send an additional $350 million to schools through a new evidence-based funding model for the coming year.
“I’m pleased that we’ve put together a full-year, balanced budget which is the product of hard work, tough choices and bipartisan cooperation. However, there should be no victory laps,” said Barickman. “The public expects us to pass balanced budgets every year, just as they expect us to cooperate in a bipartisan manner together to solve the problems facing our state. We cannot move soon enough on those issues which must be addressed if we’re going to create a competitive environment that encourages job growth.”
Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, also supported the budget.
“The budget we passed contains no tax increase and is born of compromise. As we move forward, it is vital we continue to work together to ensure this balanced budget is accomplished,” Brady said. “This budget came about because we built trust, and I believe we’ve got the start of something special here.”
State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, was one of two Senate Republican budget negotiators.
“Pension reform saves more than $440 million for the taxpayers. The budget also provides more help to local governments and K-12 schools to help ease the over-reliance on local property taxes.
“Just as important, this budget strives to stop the ‘brain-drain’ of Illinois students attending college outside of Illinois by reforming the Illinois MAP grant program and offering more investment in higher education as a whole. It also establishes a merit-based scholarship program. All of this sends a strong message to students and their families that we want them in Illinois and we are making college more affordable.”
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