By working in good faith across party lines, Governor Bruce Rauner has brought Senate and House lawmakers together for the first time in 12 years to negotiate our state’s first legitimately balanced budget in more than a decade.
Senate Republicans stressed that going forward, the state needs real, fundamental reform, instead of continuing to rely on emergency measures and stop-gap solutions that have dominated state government for more than a decade.
They Caucus underscored the bipartisan, bicameral process that produced the current budget agreement should be used as a template for future negotiations. Working together, keeping the priorities of Illinois’ families in mind, and identifying areas to cut and reform will be critical to addressing the state’s most difficult challenges: a struggling jobs climate, a growing multi-billion dollar bill backlog, staggering pension debt, the nation’s worst credit rating, and some of the country’s highest property taxes.
The one-time emergency budget fix will plug a $1.6 billion hole in the current budget. Lawmakers worked with the Governor for weeks on a solution to the immediate fiscal problems that Gov. Rauner inherited, finally agreeing on a plan that protects the state’s top priorities from the worst of the cuts—without relying on tax hikes or new borrowing.
The legislative package will enable the Governor to move money around to patch holes in the current budget. It funds corrections workers, court reporters and child-care programs that would have suffered devastating shortfalls. Failure to act would have resulted in layoffs and the loss of critical state services.