Nearly two years without a state budget: Where do we stand now and what’s next

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Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has called state legislators back to the Capitol for a special session starting next week to hammer out a budget deal and end an unprecedented impasse that could enter a third year.

WGN is taking a look at how Illinois got to this point and what’s next:


Where do we stand?

The 2018 Fiscal Year begins on July 1st.

Illinois has been operating without a budget since July 1st, 2015.

The state’s bill backlog currently stands at $15.1 billion dollars, according to the comptroller’s office.


What has been passed?

In May, the Democrat-majority Senate passed a number of budget related bills. Their plan would raise the state income tax from 3.75% to 4.95%.

The corporate income tax rate would go from 5.25% to 7%.

It would also extend the state’s sales tax to a number of services, including things like dry cleaning and tattoos/piercings as well as adding new taxes to streaming services like Netflix.

Democrats in the Senate also passed bills on school funding reform, workers’ compensation and a two-year property tax freeze.

Governor Rauner says those bills do not do enough and has threatened to veto them.

On Thursday, GOP lawmakers unveiled their version of a budget. They call it a compromise, but Democrats do not see it that way.

Their plan includes the same tax hikes, but phases them out after four years.

Republicans want a four-year property tax freeze, their own version of worker’s comp reform, term limits on elected officials and a school funding formula that does not give additional money to CPS.

Thus far, the House has noted voted on any of these proposals.



What happens next?

Any bill will need a 3/5th majority to pass before July 1st.

Democrats no longer have a supermajority in the House.  Any bill coming through that chamber will need both Republican and Democrat support.

The Governor has repeatedly said a stopgap budget would be “terrible,”  but did not rule out signing one in an interview with WGN News earlier this month.

Last year, Rauner signed off on a last-minute stopgap plan to ensure that schools opened on time in the fall.


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