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WGLT's reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, which began in McLean County in March 2020.

B-N Lawmakers Pan State Budget

The Illinois General Assembly passed a $40 billion state budget along party-line votes Saturday night in the House and early Sunday morning in the Senate: 68-44 in the House and 37-19 in the Senate.

The plan relies on federal funding to close a pandemic-driven deficit. Democrats argued against cutting spending during the pandemic. They said cutting school funding, programs for small businesses, and laying off state workers would further traumatize an already damaged economy.

The budget plan allows for borrowing of up to $5 billion from the Federal Reserve to be repaid with expected federal aid.

“If they don’t come through with that, where is higher education going to be?” asked GOP Deputy House Minority Leader Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, who voted no.

Funding for Illinois State University was held flat, said Brady.

Republican state Sen. Jason Barickman of Bloomington said lawmakers fell short of public expectations.

“Gov. Pritzker has issued more than 30 unilateral orders over the past 10 weeks. Whether you agree or disagree with these orders, there is no dispute that the Legislature must fulfill its oversight role of these unilateral decisions. Our system of checks and balances requires it. However, instead of doing its job, the Legislature adjourned after passing an unbalanced, partisan budget that includes billions of dollars of borrowing and new spending, and no oversight of the governor,” said Barickman.

Republicans also objected to the budget plan to spend $2 billion more than the previous year.

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