To the Editor:
Unacceptable. The Illinois House of Representatives left Springfield on Wednesday without passing a balanced state budget for the third year in a row. This year the Springfield political majority didn’t pass any budget.
This is beyond irresponsible. Meanwhile, teachers and public schoolchildren across Illinois are left to wonder whether schools will open on time this fall. Our frayed social service network continues to wither on the vine, creating hardships for millions of seniors, disabled and low-income families.
We are seeing jobs, opportunity and people continue to flee to neighboring states. Property taxes remain a crushing burden on homeowners with no relief in sight.
When will the madness stop? Democrats enjoy large majorities in the Illinois House and Senate. They can pass a balanced budget any time they want. They have refused constantly over the past two and a half years; however, they have passed or proposed over $13 billion in new taxes. All while refusing to make any changes to our business environment.
This is a travesty.
State law requires passage of a balanced budget by May 31 each year. Now that we’re beyond that, the Illinois Constitution requires a three-fifths majority to pass a budget, which is 71 votes in the House of Representatives. Democrats hold 67 seats, meaning this higher threshold will require bipartisan compromise to get a budget agreement done.
Good policy comes from bipartisan cooperation, but the majority controlled by Speaker Madigan refuses to accept that Illinois has problems and instead wants to wait to see if there will be a new governor in 2019.
All residents should be outraged at this approach.
The Springfield majority has approved over $2 billion in new costs to taxpayers just this year. The new $15 minimum wage bill they passed this week costs the state more money, and we have no way to pay for our current debt, let alone new costs. It is a fantasyland budget process where math doesn't matter.
Illinois families and taxpayers deserve better than this. Now that we’re into overtime session, with the start of a new fiscal year looming on July 1 and schools in danger of not opening in August, the leadership of the Illinois House needs to drop their unwillingness to negotiate a bipartisan compromise with the governor.
I have been ready to meet halfway on a compromise package since day one. We cannot afford any further delay. Illinois needs a balanced state budget with reform.
Our future depends on it.
State Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-69)