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Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* AP

The Illinois General Assembly that launched the careers of such political giants as Abraham Lincoln, Stephen A. Douglas and Barack Obama and the governor’s office once occupied by Adlai Stevenson II have set a record in futility in failing to agree on an annual spending plan for more than two years, the longest fiscal drought of any state since at least the Great Depression.

The Democratic-led Legislature and first-term Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner have stared each other down since 2015. They have until 12:01 a.m. Thursday before striking out again and facing the possibility of entering a third consecutive year with no spending blueprint.

* Sun-Times

House Democrats said they’re in communication with Senate Democrats on a revenue bill that includes an income tax hike. They are reviewing “minor changes,” including potential changes to the service taxes that were included in the initial bill. House Democrats must still be briefed on those changes to gauge support.

* Tribune

Even if a last-minute agreement among Democrats could be reached, the Republican governor is unlikely to sign off on a tax hike. Those conflicts set the stage for Illinois’ historic budget stalemate to continue into the summer, leaving schools, universities and social service providers that depend on state money without many answers, just like last year.

“I do believe that we will be back at some point in the month of June,” said House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs. “If we can reach a fair, balanced budget, I will do everything I can to provide votes from my caucus … one that’s negotiated on both sides, not just negotiated between the Democrats in the Senate and Democrats in the House.”

After May 31, the threshold to pass most budget legislation jumps. It would take 71 votes to approve a spending plan in the House, but there are just 67 Democrats, meaning any agreement would need some Republicans. That could have the dual effect of insulating Democrats from taking the blame alone for any potential tax hikes, while spreading the responsibility for continued dysfunction across both parties. The next pressure point for an agreement would be July 1, the start of the new budget year. And school districts likely will amplify their concerns as a new school year approaches.

But Durkin said he doesn’t believe Democrats will be as willing to find common ground this time around, saying he believes the goal is about muddying Rauner as he seeks re-election.

* Public Radio

Rep. Will Davis, from Homewood, is sponsoring the House version of a tax plan approved last week in the Senate. He says he doesn’t think his fellow Democrats should vote on taxes that don’t have enough support to pass.

“I think that walks us backwards, and possibly gives the governor a lot of rhetoric to say about Democrats not being able to pass their own revenue package,” he says.

Some Democrats say it’ll be better to wait until June, when the constitution requires more votes to pass a spending plan. That, they say, could force both parties to come to terms.

State Representative Lou Lang, from Skokie, says even if Democrats do not pass a spending plan in May, it doesn’t mean they’re abdicating their responsibility.

“We have worked tirelessly for the last two-and-a-half years under Gov. Bruce Rauner to get a budget,” Lang says. “And we can’t do it on our own.”


  1. - J IL - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 10:13 am:

    I think Rich would agree that there will be no budget by midnight (meaning one signed off by Rauner) or a full budget by July 1st. The writing has been on the wall for sometime now. Rauner saying they are very, very close is just political cover talk. I might be misinformed but it seems like if you could get assurance from Rauner (not likely) that a 4-year freeze would get him to sign off on a budget then just give it too him. How possibly could that type of measure alone cause more damage to the middle class and schools then no budget for two more years?

  2. - Lucly Pierre - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 10:16 am:

    Except Mr Lang sats there will be no budget for four years. Does working tirelessly on a budget involve a conversation with Leader Durkin or is he a potted plant?

  3. - Arsenal - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 10:28 am:

    ==The latter isn’t even in the same class as the former.==

    There were 3 politicians named, and like it or not, anyone who gets elected POTUS twice *is* a pretty big deal.

  4. - Bob Hicks - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 10:38 am:

    To the Illinois GOP, common ground means my way or the highway. embarrassing! Instead of criticizing the Speaker of the House demand votes from the GOP on a budget.

  5. - don the legend - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 10:43 am:

    Madigan and Cullerton in dealing with Rauner is like Bruno Tattaglia talking to Don Corleone at the meeting of the families: …But I must hear strict assurance from Rauner. When time goes by and his position becomes stronger, will he attempt any individual vengeance?

  6. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 10:47 am:

    ===Bruno Tattaglia talking to Don Corleone at the meeting of the families: …But I must hear strict assurance from Rauner. When time goes by and his position becomes stronger, will he attempt any individual vengeance?===

    Rauner’s a $&@#. He never could’ve out-fought Cullerton and Madigan with his own cash and message. But I didn’t know until this day that it was Uihlein and Griffin all along.

  7. - Gordon Willis - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 11:07 am:

    “How’s Dunkin?”

    “Oh, Kenny….won’t sew him around here no more!”

  8. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 11:23 am:

    You talk about vengeance. Is vengeance going to raise your minimum wage, or increase my income taxes? I forgo the vengeance of the Senate Democrats’ budget. But I have selfish reasons. The Grand Bargain was forced to die quietly because of this Turnaround business. All right, now I have to make arrangements to bring it back to life in the House, cleared of all these false charges. But I’m a superstitious man, and if some unlucky accident should befall it… if the Governor should change his mind, or if the Republicans can’t find their green buttons, or if it’s struck by a bolt of lightning, then I’m going to blame some of the people in this room, and that I do not forgive. But, that aside, let me say that I swear, on the souls of my grandchildren, that I will not be the one to break the deal we have made here today.

  9. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 11:29 am:

    - 47th Ward -

    Take a bow, good stuff.

    ===Except Mr Lang sats there will be no budget for four years.===

    … and yet, it’s Rauner, twice, blowing up the Grand Bargain. Why aren’t you angry with Rauner? lol

    ===Does working tirelessly on a budget involve a conversation with Leader Durkin or is he a potted plant===

    Durkin and the House Raunerites, like the Senate Raunerites, do EXACTLY as they are told, or else.

    Negotiating with Durkin would be like explaining quantum physics to a Fungo Bat. It’s useless. The undercutting of Leader Radogno proved that Rauner, and Rauner alone, is the negotiator.

    We can quibble on a potted plant or fungo bat if you’d like, I don’t mind…

  10. - Annonin' - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 12:10 pm:

    Mr/Ms Lucky Pierre
    We have known outstanding, world class potted plants. Please don’t try to lump Durkie into such an honored class.
    Please check out the monster revolt over the AT&T as an example of how much goes into tryin’ to work with DopeyDuct.
    Rest our case

  11. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 12:49 pm:



    That’s the plan in action.

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