Illinois budget crisis: 2 House Republicans still favor tax hike
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – The Latest on the Illinois Legislature’s action to address the nation’s longest state budget stalemate (all times local):
Two key Republicans in the Illinois House say they will continue supporting an income-tax increase over their governor’s veto.
Rep. David Harris of Arlington Heights and Rep. Steven Andersson of Geneva were among 15 Republicans who bucked Gov. Bruce Rauner and helped provide a veto-proof majority for a 32 percent income tax increase designed to dig Illinois out of the nation’s longest budget crisis since at least the Great Depression.
Harris is the ranking Republican on the Revenue and Finance and General Services Appropriations committees. He says it’s “immoral” for the state to carry a $15 billion bill backlog and the $800 million a year in interest it carries.
Andersson is the GOP floor leader. He says his vote for the tax increase was reinforced when bond houses delayed a promised downgrade to Illinois’ credit rating.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is imploring legislators not to override his veto of a budget package, calling it a “disaster” that won’t solve the state’s many financial problems.
The Republican spoke Wednesday at a bar and restaurant on the far South Side of Chicago. His comments came minutes after the speaker of the Illinois House said the chamber would vote Thursday to override the veto, ending a budget stalemate that has lasted more than two years.
The $36 billion spending plan is fueled by a permanent 32 percent income tax increase. It does not include changes Rauner has been pushing for since he took office in 2015, such as term limits for lawmakers and a property tax freeze.
Rauner says Illinois needs “fundamental change.”
The speaker of the Illinois House has scheduled a vote for Thursday to override the governor’s veto of budget package.
If passed, the package would end the fiscal stalemate that has persisted fo two years. That’s the longest any state has gone without a budget since at least the Great Depression.
Speaker Michael Madigan is a Chicago Democrat. He says in a statement issued Wednesday that he anticipates working with Republicans “to begin healing the wounds of the last several years.”
The $36 billion spending plan would be financed with a $5 billion income tax increase. A House vote to override Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto would put the plan into effect.
A top House Democrat says lawmakers intend to attempt an override of a budget-package veto in that chamber Thursday.
Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie is deputy majority leader. He says Democrats will attempt to reverse Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the $36 billion spending plan financed with a $5 billion income-tax increase when enough members show up to vote.
The Senate moved swiftly Tuesday to override Rauner’s vetoes. That sent them to the House. But fewer than 60 of 118 House members answered roll calls both Tuesday and Wednesday.
Lang says he can’t answer for all the absences, but he mentioned three cases in which lawmakers are dealing with the death of a family member or friend, and other personal problems.
Lang says “legislators are people too.”
The Illinois House has adjourned and scheduled a Thursday session which could feature votes to override a budget-deal veto.
The fate of the nation’s longest-running state budget crisis since at least the Great Depression rests with the House, which lacked a quorum for action Wednesday.
Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday vetoed a package of legislation that raised the income tax by $5 billion to finance a $36 billion spending plan, which would be Illinois’ first budget since 2015.
The Senate swiftly voted to override the vetoes Wednesday and sent them to the House.
Only 59 of the chamber’s 118 members ansered the roll call Wednesday. Deputy Democratic Leader Arthur Turner of Chicago was in the chair. He adjourned the House until 1:30 p.m. Thursday.