Republicans fight for lasting change; Democrats respond with temporary Band-Aid
The standoff continued between reform-minded Republicans and status-quo Democrats in the Legislature during the week, amid questions and lawsuits about what the state can – and can’t – spend in the absence of a budget. On July 8, Gov. Rauner introduced legislation once again aimed at improving the state’s business climate and finding compromise with the Democrat legislative leaders.
Incorporating specific requests from President John Cullerton and Senate Democrats, Rauner introduced revised legislation for a property tax freeze – which includes Democrat language to change school funding in Illinois, and an updated compromise bill on workers’ compensation reform.
Rauner also introduced an updated version of pro-jobs legislation that would cut down on frivolous lawsuits and renewed his call for a vote on redistricting reform and term limits. However, instead of returning to the negotiating table or offering compromise of their own, the House instead passed a one-month spending plan that includes none of Rauner’s reforms.
Because their overall spending plan runs nearly $4 billion ahead of expected tax revenues, it will inevitably lead to one of two options: state services and programs running out of money long before the year’s end; or the immediate need for more money in the state’s coffers. Both Gov. Rauner and Republican lawmakers have said that any discussion about a tax hike shouldn’t come before structural reforms that create jobs and boost the economy.