Illinois governor wants temporary budget fix amid stalemate
SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed a short-term budget fix on Tuesday in a last-ditch effort to give the state some temporary stability during a nearly yearlong spat between the Republican and Democratic lawmakers over a spending plan.
The proposal would fund public schools through next year and provide support for financially-strapped social service providers. Rauner's administration opposed a temporary fix last week, and its new plan comes as lawmakers are hours away from finishing this year's legislative session.
"It has become abundantly clear that the legislative majority will not compromise and pass a balanced budget with reforms," Rauner's budget director, Tim Nuding, said in a memo addressed to lawmakers Monday night.
Rauner was meeting with legislative leaders in his office Tuesday morning.
Democrats remain deadlocked with Rauner and his fellow Republicans on how to pass a budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Rauner wants business-friendly legislation that he says will spur economic growth in exchange for signing off on a tax increase to address a $5 billion deficit. Democrats say Rauner's ideas hurt the middle class.
The Senate is expected to consider a $40 billion budget on Tuesday that the House already passed -- but Rauner said he'll veto it because it's $7 billion out of balance.
Rauner's proposal suggests funding public schools so they can open in the fall, though the memo did not provide a funding figure for schools. Colleges and universities would also get $600 million from a special fund for higher education, and social service programs would get $458 million, also from a special fund.
"This proposal is not designed as a full-year budget," Nuding said. "It is designed as a bridge plan that allows schools to open, keeps the lights on, protects public safety and prevents a government shutdown."
Illinois lawmakers have one day left to end their 11-month budget stalemate before their spring session ends and it becomes more difficult. Lawmakers need a simple majority to pass a budget before they adjourn Tuesday night. After that they'll need three-fifths support from each chamber.