Illinois State Budget
1:38 pm
Fri April 15, 2011

Ill. lawmakers OK big piece of state budget

Illinois lawmakers have set aside billions of dollars to pay state obligations as part of what Democrats call a more responsible approach to the budget.

The state Senate sent the governor legislation that devotes nearly $8 billion to paying off debt and making pension payments.

Senate President John Cullerton said Friday the goal is to make sure the state doesn't duck these obligations or pay them with borrowed money.

The Chicago Democrat says paying the bills will leave $26.5 billion to cover all other expenses. Cullerton estimates it will take $1.2 billion in spending cuts to stay within that limit.

Some Republicans object to passing a big chunk of the budget before coming up with a plan for the rest. They call that a piecemeal approach.