Rep begs House to find budget compromise
In a point of privilege, Rep. Steven Andersson (R-Geneva) took to the House floor to decry the lack of budget discussions despite the General Assembly being weeks into its spring session.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the House, we are on day 21 of our spring session, which means we have approximately 31 days left for the remainder of the session,” Andersson said. “The significance of that is that, at this point, we have had virtually zero discussions about the budget in this chamber.”
He spoke after House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) held a conference disparaging Democrats for the lack of progress on pension reforms and compromise, and Sens. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and Daniel Biss (D-Skokie) suggested that the state might not have a balanced budget until 2019, at the earliest.
The House needs to work on the budget because it can’t rely on the Senate, Andersson said.
“Now we’ve seen the Senate work hard,” he said. “It may succeed. It may fail. But I don’t think we should be relying on the Senate to do anything. What we need to be doing is working on our budget now.”
Andersson said none of the conversations that have taken place on the budget have been fruitful.
“I will tell you I have had many conversations with people,” he said. “Some people believe that we can do this without revenue. That may be true. I think, mathematically, it is possible. I have also spoken to people who believe that we can do this without reform. I suppose, in theory, that is possible, too. But there are three numbers that matter, ladies and gentlemen: 60, 30 and 1.”
60-30-1 refers to the number of votes required to pass a compromise budget into law: 60 House members, 30 Senate members, and one governor.
Andersson urged the chamber to start discussions and work on a compromise. The budget impasse has affected sectors of the state ranging from education and social services to jobs and research.
“Compromise requires conversation, and I am concerned that we are not having that conversation,” Andersson said. “Please, I beg you on behalf of the people of the state of Illinois, let’s start talking. Let’s work together in the spirit of compromise so that we can get that done.”
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