GOP made room for Dem demands, came up with fair budget, Righter says
A budget and reform proposal that Republican lawmakers unveiled on Wednesday is a fair and balanced compromise that will reduce spending and fund Illinois, Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) says.
“We are here again today to try once again with another compromise effort at a spending package that we hope would be bipartisan and is certainly balanced,” Righter said. “This is what the package entails: It’s a balanced budget; it contains a hard spending cap of $36 billion; it achieves balance by reducing and making adjustments in spending of approximately $5 billion through reforms and...pays down a portion of the staggeringly high backlog of bills that is growing every single day because of inaction on a balanced budget.”
Illinois is facing a third fiscal year without a budget, which could bring devastating consequences to vital government-dependent programs such as education and social services. The Republicans argue that their proposal would not only implement a balanced budget but also impose a four-year property tax freeze -- instead of the permanent one they wanted -- set term limits on legislative leaders and constitutional officers, provide direct funds to vital human services, and employ an evidence-based and fair school funding formula that also picks up Chicago Public School’s normal pension costs.
Righter, who was joined by some of his fellow Republican colleagues, argued that the proposals were the result of compromises during negotiations talks. He asserted that his party agreed to pension parity, adding back more spending for unspecified Democratic-backed programs and enacting means testing on tax credits that residents may get.
“The efforts here in this balanced budget filing is to pick up where the negotiation was broken off by the Democrats on May 23,” Righter said. “We agree with our Democrat friends in that the best way to prompt [House] Speaker [Michael] Madigan into action is to pass to the House a balanced budget that has Republican and Democrat votes supporting it. That’s what this effort is about.”
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) echoed Righter’s claims of compromise and unity.
“We are calling upon our Democratic colleagues in the House and Senate to join us in passing a balanced budget with reforms ... that are good for taxpayers and will put Illinois back on track to the state that we love, the state that we grew up in,” Durkin said. “We must go back to Springfield to finish our job.”
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