Illinois Lawmakers Overturn Governor's Veto On State Budget

IL - which has been without a budget since 2015 - concluded its historic impasse Thursday when the state House of Representatives overrode Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto, breaking a dramatic 736 days of partisan gridlock.

The House of Representatives voted Thursday to override gubernatorial vetoes, giving final approval to a $36 billion spending plan and $5 billion tax increase. McSweeney says Governor Bruce Rauner should forget about compromising with Democrats going forward. And the corporate tax will rise to 7 percent from 5.25 percent - a rise of roughly 33 percent.

But it sent the wrong signal to rank-and-file Republican lawmakers. Tom Bennett of Gibson City, Brad Halbrook of Shelbyville and Dan Brady of Bloomington. "Today, it's even more important that we give extra appreciation to those individuals who, recognizing the need for a balanced budget that relies on revenue, cast a heroic vote to provide the dollars our students need to help fund their education as well as provide dollars for our 6,000 [Monetary Award Program] grant recipients". Hays, Mitchell and Phillips voted for it. Brady, Bennett, Brady and Halbrook opposed it. In fact, both bills penalize insurers and their customers; they do not enact beneficial reforms. "Instead they caused a crisis and they hurt innocent people".

Preliminary tests showed that it wasn't, said a spokesman for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.

House members voted 71-42 to override Rauner's veto.

The action eases some financial woes, but it's fueled by a permanent 32 percent increase in the income tax rate, raising $5 billion more annually, and it reduces spending by more than $2 billion.

IL already has the highest property taxes in the nation.

Rep. Steven Andersson, a Republican who supported the override of the GOP governor, said on the House floor that the past few days were "brutal" and that he received death threats and hate mail.

Jared Labell, executive director of Taxpayers United of America, compared fixing the state's financial problems, as well as the impact the income tax hike could have, to a game of "Jenga".

The restoration of state funding also should serve to increase purses in Illinois-bred stakes races, though there are none left on the Arlington stakes schedule for this meet. North Carolina, at 5.75 percent, and MA, at 5.1 percent, lead the group of flat income tax states. "It only continues them", he said.

"There's no joy in voting for a tax increase", Harris said Thursday.

Brady said the budget did not match his priorities of education, public infrastructure and public safety. On the override vote Thursday, only 10 pressed their green buttons.

"Absolutely, just the polarization between the two parties and phone calls and emails to the office", he said. "But we did what was right for the future of our state". I keep repeating to people that this is $800 million less than the governor's (proposed) budget. "We can do better", Frese said.

The budget is balanced, supporters said, because revenue would exceed spending by $200 million. And yet, there are some in the legislature who think the answer is more borrowing.

The standoff, which entered a third fiscal year on July 1, had effects statewide.

Opponents of the new tax and budget, generally political conservatives or business entities, blamed Madigan for the past two years' jolting political drama and predicted the tax hikes would ultimately worsen the state's economy.

IL hasn't had a conventional budget since June 30, 2015.

- About $583 million is set aside for the University of IL, including appropriations for the UI Hospital, the Prairie Research Institute and a number of other programs. "A full state budget helps support healthcare as well as critical social services provided in communities across the state".

But on Wednesday a third credit-rating agency, Moody's Investors Service, put IL under review for a downgrade even if lawmakers overrode the veto.

  • Anthony Vega