In a development (or lack thereof) certain to affect every citizen and business in the state, Illinois law makers have nothing to show after months of negotiation over the Illinois budget for 2016. At the midnight deadline of May 31st, state legislators failed to create a bipartisan state budget. This will now be the second year that Illinois is without a budget—further digging the state into a budget crisis.
Governor Bruce Rauner had proposed two temporary stop-gap bills that would have fully-funded K-12 schools while also allocating $105 million towards extra funding to education. The bills also focused on temporary funding concerning other government services like state colleges and social services. While the bill was passed through the Illinois’ Senate, it was rejected by the House just minutes before the deadline was reached. Governor Rauner expressed his anger towards the General Assembly, calling the session a “stunning failure.”
It is baffling to see after ten months of negotiating and debating, Illinois lawmakers are unable to create a bipartisan budget for the second year in a row. Due Illinois’ budget crisis, the state has relied heavily on court orders and consent decrees for funding in the past year. The budget crisis has created an absolute and financial mess for essential government services. Pushing this to the future will only make it more difficult for a bipartisan budget to be created as passing a budget will now require a 3/4 super majority vote.
It is easy to see the aggravation that many Illinois citizens feel when they are asked about Illinois politics. The lack of bipartisan cooperation can be traced back to the separate agendas of the Governor and the Democratic majority in the Senate and the House. Governor Rauner has focused his “turnaround agenda” which he believes will grow the state economy and increasing revenue in contrast to Democrats focus on an increase in taxes and a purported concern that the agenda of Governor Rauner will hurt the middle class.
Whatever the outcome, it is clear that changes to Illinois Workers’ Compensation remain a key issue under discussion. Prior to the deadline, many observers felt that the best hope for a compromise would come from the various “working groups” that are trying to reach a compromise on several points of Rauner’s agenda which includes changes to workers compensation, property tax relief, collective bargaining changes, and pension reform.