A meeting between the Governor and the four legislative leaders December 1 yielded no immediate agreement on the ongoing budget impasse, now in its sixth month, but bipartisan cooperation did spark progress by the House of Representatives on two important issues.
On December 2, the House approved a bipartisan initiative that would help fund local governments, 911 call centers, programs for low-income residents and veterans, and help pay lottery winners. The House also passed another bipartisan measure to reform the state’s unemployment system, a measure that will help Illinois’ jobs market.
Budget meeting yields little results
Governor Bruce Rauner hosted the December 1 meeting with House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs).
The meeting in Rauner’s Capitol office opened with a live video stream of the four legislative leaders and the Governor offering their views on the budget impasse. That meeting was followed by a private discussion between the participants.
My Republican colleagues and I continue to push for a balanced budget and critical reforms, such as property tax relief, workers’ compensation reform and redistricting reform, which are needed to boost Illinois’ economy, create more jobs, and move Illinois forward.
Democrat leaders continue to embrace the status quo, saying the budget and new revenue need to be addressed before considering any reforms.
Governor Rauner and the four legislative leaders plan on meeting again next week.
Illinois has been without a state budget since July 1.
Bipartisan legislation that funds local governments, 911 centers heads to Senate
The House voted 107-1-1 to approve Senate Bill 2039, which appropriates funding to local governments, 911 call centers, lottery winners, Special Olympics, HIV/Aids Prevention, the state portion of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, police and fire training, veterans’ homes, and other programs.
The majority of the bill appropriates funding that is not part of the General Revenue Fund (GRF), including motor fuel tax distributions that go to local governments for purposes including snow plowing and road repair.
Most of the funding included in the bill comes from either federal sources or special state funds that are designed to fund specific programs. However, there are two line items that utilize GRF money, including $10 million to the Secretary of State to pay for electrical bills and maintenance at state buildings and $18 million to fund shelters for victims of domestic violence.
The Senate is expected to take up the measure when they return to Springfield on December 7.
Pro-growth, pro-jobs measure heads to Governor
A second measure, aimed at reforming the state’s unemployment insurance system, is on its way to the Governor’s desk after the House passed it by a 110-0 vote on December 2.
House Bill 1285 had been passed by a 58-0 vote of the Senate on November 10.
House Bill 1285 strengthens the standards for employee misconduct, stops Social Security age- and disability-based benefits from reducing unemployment benefits, and eliminates issues that could have increased taxes on employers by $470 million in 2016.
The bill is the result of six months of negotiations, led by the Governor’s office, with legislators, labor leaders, employers and other stakeholders.
This is an important first step in making Illinois more competitive, so the state can attract more jobs and investment.