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HDems look to keep government running, stopgap under discussion

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

* Sun-Times

Illinois House Democrats still don’t have enough support to pass a Senate revenue bill that includes an income tax hike, or their own tax proposals — and a June 30 budget deadline appears to be a new goal line for a budget plan with just two days left in the regular session calendar.

While adjournment is scheduled for Wednesday at midnight, the new fiscal year begins on July 1. The state hasn’t had a full budget since July 1, 2015, amid a political war between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. And a partial budget expired on Jan. 1, leaving public universities and social service agencies struggling to survive.

“The first of July is the real deadline for having a budget in place so the state can continue to operate,” said State Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, who is serving as Madigan’s chief budget negotiator.

It becomes more difficult to pass legislation on June 1 when a three-fifths majority is needed. The governor has criticized the Senate revenue plan, and there aren’t enough Democrats to override him if he vetoed it.

When the House Dems start talking about June 30th, pay attention. It could be a long summer.

* AP

Illinois, which hasn’t had an annual budget since summer 2015 - the longest of any state in modern history - is running a deficit of as much as $6 billion and sitting on a $14.5 billion pile of overdue bills.

We’re so unique!

* Tribune

As negotiations continued late into the evening Monday, questions remain about whether the House will choose to take up an annual budget at all, or if there will be a repeat of last year when the chambers couldn’t agree on a plan to send to Rauner. Negotiations continued throughout June, resulting in a temporary budget that ensured schools opened on time and universities and social services were funded for six months.

“What good is it to pass a budget that doesn’t go anywhere?” said Rep. Fred Crespo, D-Hoffman Estates, who serves as an appropriations chairman. “Really the endgame should be, ‘How do we keep government running to help the people we are supposed to help?’ Whether it’s at 100 percent, it’s at 80 percent, it’s at 50 percent. To me, that’s the fundamental question that we are losing sight of. We are spending a lot of time on a budget that might not happen.”

Crespo noted that even if Democrats did pass a budget, they would not be able to override a possible Rauner veto. That would take 71 votes, but there are just 67 Democratic members. He said if lawmakers blow past the Wednesday deadline, it’d put pressure on Republicans to cut a deal.

Rep. Greg Harris, who serves as a budget point man for House Speaker Michael Madigan, said Democrats will “cross that bridge as we come to it.”

“The governor, as he has shown, has no concern about just vetoing any budget and driving the state further into ruin. That’s what he’s done in the past, but we can’t fail to do our jobs and send him a responsible budget,” Harris said.

Keep in mind that Gov. Rauner has repeatedly said he will veto a stopgap unless he gets a permanent property tax freeze. Maybe they’ll just wind up calling it something else. As noted above, it could be a while before we know.

Keep a close eye on our live coverage post for constant updates.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 10:17 am:

    In a normal year the HDems would want to conclude business before June 1, so they could keep the HGOPs away from the table. As we know, this isn’t a normal year, and since any short or long term solution is going to require HGOP votes, there is no reason to see June 1st as a hard deadline.

    It looks today like the HGOPs will need to put about 20 votes on the tax hike bill(s). If things go downhill and the HDems go with their own plan, then they’d still need at least 7 HGOPs to break with Rauner. Probably not going to happen, but as I said, any “real” solution requires Republican votes, so going into overtime was a foregone conclusion.

  2. - taxation = civilization - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 10:22 am:

    It has been two years and it seems like the Democrats are still flat footed, caught with no legislative strategy or messaging designed to corner rauner. Hold up k to 12 funding, send rauner a budget with some property tax relief and a bigger tax hike. Force him to do something that’s damaging either way.

    I’m just confused, where’s Madigans game?

  3. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 10:25 am:

    Rauner says a stopgap budget requires a permanent property tax freeze, but a grand bargain budget requires only a four year property tax freeze?

    The man’s negotiation “skills” would be laughable if it weren’t for the massive destruction he is causing Illinois.

  4. - Derp - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 10:42 am:

    Precinct captain, are you assuming he is “negotiating” with the goal of reaching a deal? What makes you assume he wants a deal

  5. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 10:56 am:

    “It has been two years and it seems like the Democrats are still flat footed, caught with no legislative strategy or messaging designed to corner rauner. Hold up k to 12 funding, send rauner a budget with some property tax relief and a bigger tax hike. Force him to do something that’s damaging either way.”

    I agree with much of this. Democrats should pass property tax relief and put the pressure on Rauner. The House passed it in 2015. Can’t they come down from a permanent freeze to four years?

    Political ineptitude is terrible. See the political reality and try to win in it.

  6. - RNUG - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 10:58 am:

    No stop gap; no, K-12 schools funding.

    The school funding is the only leverage out there. You pass it, there will never be a budget.

  7. - don the legend - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 11:08 am:

    In exchange for a do nothing property tax freeze and a w/c adjustment that the average voter won’t understand, it does not add up at all that Rauner would sign an income tax hike that puts us right about where we were when he got elected (4.95/5%) and create new service taxes.

    He has ducked and dived for so long now he has left himself painted into a corner of his own making. Rauner cannot make a deal as he loses his only campaign issue: “Blame Madigan”.

  8. - Original Rambler - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 11:10 am:

    47th Ward is spot on. June 30 is the date.

    I’m with RNUG 100%. Stopgaps, under any name, are like prolonged trips to the dentist. Let’s force the issue finally and pull the tooth!

  9. - Texas Red - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 11:14 am:

    Dems 67 means their caucus has the numbers to pass the Senates Tax revenue bill. They just don’t want to, instead they are using the veto as cover. Fear of going on the record in support of higher taxes is preeminent to them.

  10. - Anon221 - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 11:26 am:

    Agree with RNUG. Dems need to just go ahead and take the hard votes on the tax hike(s) and send it to Rauner with no (probably) Republican votes. Yes, Rauner will veto it. He would probably veto anything at this point, even if it was a totally Republican budget. His field of goalposts is much more important, and Republicans are expendable.

    If a stop gap is sent, Rauner really wins. But if a total budget is sent, Republicans will need to explain to their home districts why school can’t be open an entire year (most have enough reserves until the second semester, and even then they are really going to be hurting), or why Rauner’s version of a stopgap (K-12 only IF he line items) is so much better for the State than a full budget.

    Either way, the Dems need to force the Republicans to either take hard votes after May 31st or on overrides, or show their true colors of Red and Yellow while they wait with their hands out for Rauner’s greenbacks.

  11. - taxation = civilization - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 11:26 am:

    I really hope the dems withhold school funding unless it’s attached to a budget. I’m not sure if they’ve got the courage to do so.

  12. - Jimmy H - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 11:36 am:

    Yep! No k-12 funding. Rauner said he might have to shut things down, give him the shutdown. Rauner wants it, he will own it. Let Rauner explain to parents his short term pain concept.

  13. - JLR - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 11:55 am:

    The only possible way this will end would be a total government shutdown.
    I hope ASCME will not strike because they have no money in a strike fund.
    There will be no compromise. So I hope that K-12 is not funded until there is a budget agreement. RNUG is right.

  14. - Ghost - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 12:22 pm:

    Give the Gov a lump sum, note it had to be done becuasr the gov proposed budget was not balanced and his agencies submitted budget requests that exceed revenue, the govs lack of request for any new revenue, and let the gov wear the hat for what doesn’t get paid.

  15. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 12:26 pm:

    I too agree with RNUG: no stopgap budget. We can’t play these games anymore. We need a full and balanced budget. I would be okay with a two-year property tax freeze, if that’s the most Democrats are willing to give. Rauner would refuse it, but he could be attacked for rejecting a property tax freeze, just like Democrats will be attacked because of voting for only two years.

  16. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 12:30 pm:

    ===Give the Gov a lump sum, note it had to be done becuasr the gov proposed budget was not balanced and his agencies submitted budget requests that exceed revenue, the govs lack of request for any new revenue, and let the gov wear the hat for what doesn’t get paid.===

    Absolutely. No. Way.

    1) Quinn. Quinn has this and it was a complete disaster, more of a disaster than Quinn was on his own.

    2) Rauner doesn’t care. Without MOUs, the mere idea that contracts have worth now is a complete joke. Giving Rauner complete autonomy with a lump sum would make any contract worthless, given the history, personal and gubernatorial, Rauner will hurt people first, last, always.

    3) Republicans, before becoming Raunerites, made clear the Lump Sum Budget should never be repeated. Deciding to now go against that with the uncertainty of Rauner himself would be to encourage Illinois demise… at a quicker pace than we’re already seeing.

    4) … and finally, revenue. Rauner can’t make even his wildest hopes and dreams come true for the damaging of Illinois without an increase of revenue. Who would want their taxes raised when Rauner decides to close EIU?

    Nope. No lump sum. Not healthy for Illinois. Quinn proved that theory.

  17. - JLR - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 1:08 pm:

    One other possibility would be for the Democrats (House and Senate) to pass a balanced budget.
    That is what constituents would truly understand. This is what Rauner needs. No Tax Increases.
    A balanced budget. Get going Dems.
    End this NOW.

  18. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 2:31 pm:

    Dems having a pretty good day in the ‘Patch, passin’ two-year property tax bills in the Senate and the minimum wage hike bill in the House.

    Kudos and good job to the Senate Republicans who voted for the property tax bills.

  19. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 3:03 pm:

    –Dems 67 means their caucus has the numbers to pass the Senates Tax revenue bill. They just don’t want to, instead they are using the veto as cover. –

    LOL, the veto is a “cover?”

    Did you just wake up, Rip? In dozens of attempts, how many of Rauner’s vetoes have been overridden?

    My old wood shop teacher could count them up on one hand. And he didn’t have many fingers on either hand.

  20. - ??? - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 3:20 pm:

    Texas Red - the House GOP hasnt had the cajones to offer up their own budget solutions and spending cuts. They are more than welcome to propose a budget with deep spending cuts, but until they do, they are hardly profiles in courage. What have they been doing for the last two years, besides voting “no” on everything proposed by the Dems and those stupid robocalls. They are worthless. Gutless, too.

  21. - peon - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 10:15 pm:

    I would prefer to see a bi-partisan set of cuts and revenues to achieve balance, but that seems out of the question.

    We are allowed a formula in the school funding bill, so - maybe crazy - but why not put a formula in the budget appropriation that cuts by factor across the board (unless court orders prevent) based on an assessment of revenue at the start of the fiscal year, and then a revenue assessment again at the mid-point of the fiscal year.

    That would encourage a bipartisan revenue solution (or supplementary bill).

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