The Illinois Senate began voting on a number of budget and reform measures this week that are part of the “Grand Bargain” budget plan, which has been in the works for months by Senate members on both sides of the aisle. The goal of the “Grand Bargain” is to create a bipartisan solution to the ongoing budget impasse in order to provide Illinois with a balanced budget along with structural reforms to help create jobs and boost the economy.
As voting on several of the measures began, Senate Republicans readily supported certain initiatives, such as pension reform and procurement reform, where bipartisan compromise was reached. However, Senate Republicans urged their Democratic counterparts to hold on other critical measures that were not yet agreed upon, such as property tax relief, education funding reform, and local government consolidation. Republicans reiterated the need to keep negotiating to ensure the best deal possible for taxpayers, students, and job creators. However, despite these requests Democrat lawmakers moved forward on a number of these issues.
Throughout the budget process, Senate Republicans have negotiated in good-faith with the Senate majority in an effort to bring budget stability and economic security to Illinois taxpayers. In the weeks leading up to the scheduled May 31 deadline, Senate Republicans remain committed to working with all parties to ensure the best deal possible is reached for Illinois residents. But they note that to act on legislation that is incomplete, or not agreed upon, may only derail the good-faith negotiations that they say are close to bearing fruit.