SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois lawmakers continued efforts to resolve the state’s budget crisis Saturday, a day that began with harsh words between party leaders on the House floor, and ended with Democratic Speaker Mike Madigan promising a vote on a tax plan on Sunday.
But partisan politics remain at play.
Speaker Mike Madigan said in a statement Saturday the Illinois House will vote Sunday on a revenue proposal “modeled” on a bill put forward by the GOP:
“I am encouraged by the progress we continue to make with Leader Durkin and the other leaders. Building on this progress and Friday’s overwhelmingly bipartisan budget vote, the House will be voting Sunday on a revenue package that is modeled on the bill supported by the governor, and House and Senate Republicans in their recent announcement of their budget blueprint, and ensures a balanced budget for our state.”
Earlier in the day, Speaker Madigan said he was not ready to call a vote on the budget over the weekend, and tensions boiled over in a tense exchange with House Minority Leader Rep. Jim Durkin.
“I still contend that these matters can be resolved very quickly. I want this done today,” Durkin said to thunderous applause in the chamber.
Someone on the GOP side yelled “Speaker Junk,” and then order was restored. Junk is a reference to the state’s possible credit downgrade to “junk” status.
After the floor spectacle, negotiations resumed, and Madigan changed course, announcing he will hold a vote on a tax plan Sunday. Lawmakers still have a long way to go, and need to settle their differences on raising the state’s income tax rate.
“Raising taxes would be the final nail in the coffin in Illinois; they’re talking about raising taxes higher than Pat Quinn,” Rep. David McSweeney (R-Cary) said.
“Anyone who thinks this situation is going to resolve itself without raising income tax hasn’t been reading the news,” Rep. Toi Hutchinson (D–Chicago) said.
Saturday was the first day of the fiscal year since the legislature failed to meet a midnight deadline, and marked the beginning of Illinois’ third year without a budget.