Speaker says Illinois Legislature will miss budget deadline
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The speaker of the Illinois House acknowledged Wednesday that lawmakers will miss a key midnight deadline for a deal to end the longest state budget drought in modern American history, triggering a rule requiring even more votes to approve one later.
Michael Madigan announced there would be no floor vote Wednesday in the Democratic-controlled House on budget measures previously approved by the full Senate and advanced Tuesday night by a House committee. He expressed confidence a compromise could still be reached before the next fiscal year begins July 1, but after Wednesday a three-fifths supermajority rather than simple majority is required for passage.
The proposal, sprung from months of bipartisan Senate negotiation, called for a $37.3 billion budget fueled by $5.4 billion in tax increases. But Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, blamed Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner for talks eventually breaking down.
"Some of our people are concerned, having observed how the governor worked with the Senate Democrats, where he would negotiate, then back away, negotiate, back away," Madigan said. "There's a concern. They just don't have a high level of confidence in the way the governor has conducted himself."
Rauner, who was scheduled to make a public statement late Wednesday afternoon, and the Democratic-controlled General Assembly have been unable to agree on an annual budget since Rauner took office in 2015. It's the longest any state has gone without an economic outline since the Great Depression.
Rauner has blamed Democrats for failing to address the pro-business, anti-union and anti-politician "structural changes" he seeks, such as cost-cutting restrictions on workers' compensation. Legislative Republicans have insisted a 32 percent increase in the personal income tax rate, from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent, be a part of taxpayer parity with the adoption of a local property tax freeze. Both chambers have approved workers' comp changes and the Senate adopted a two-year freeze on property taxes. But Rauner says neither goes far enough.
On other issues, the Senate unanimously appproved a measure making it more difficult for authorities to seize property from owners in connection with a suspected crime. Sen. Don Harmon's legislation would put the burden of proof on police when confiscating property such as a car. Current law allows police to take property without charging an owner for illegal activity. The plan by Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, would force authorities to prove an owner consented to his or her property being used for a crime.
In the House, a revamped tax credit designed to reward corporations for creating jobs won endorsement. Rep. Michael Zalewski, a Riverside Democrat, said his changes would tighten up the EDGE tax incentive program. But there's no time for the Senate to act on the measure.
Associated Press writers Kiannah Sepeda-Miller and Sophia Tareen contributed.
Contact Political Writer John O'Connor at https://twitter.com/apoconnor . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/john%20o'connor