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Senate Committee debates Unbalanced Budget Response Act

Making it clear the best approach would be to continue to work toward a full-year, balanced state budget for Illinois, lawmakers debated legislation in the Senate Executive Committee this week that would offer the Governor a plan of action in the event no accord can be reached on a state budget. 

While budget negotiations continue in pursuit of a comprehensive, balanced budget, Senate lawmakers agree it is crucial to have a plan in place if budget talks come to a stand-still. For that reason, Senate Bill 2063, the Unbalanced Budget Response Act (UBRA), has been introduced which would give the Governor the tools he needs to balance the budget and meet the state’s obligations.

UBRA is the less preferable route to a state budget say Senate Republicans, who emphasize that bipartisan cooperation and compromise on a budget plan is the ideal approach. The Senate has had a fair amount of success working toward a bipartisan budget approach for Illinois, and Senate Republicans lawmakers continue to be hopeful an agreement can be reached so the House of Representatives and the Governor’s office can be actively brought in to the negotiations.

Senate Bill 2063 would enable the Governor to manage state funds, modify rates, payments and transfers, and potentially delay payments—with some exceptions. Though similar measures have been approved to assist previous Illinois governors, and more than half a dozen other states have some form of the UBRA proposal, the measure failed to garner enough support from Democrat lawmakers in the Committee to advance for a hearing by the entire Senate body.

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