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Deadline Passes in Illinois with No Budget

Ill. Capitol Bldg. (KWMU photo)


Springfield, Ill. – The Illinois House and Senate adjourned Monday night without passing a state budget. That means the spring session will go into overtime.

The issue of how to fill a $2.3 billion budget deficit remains unresolved. It also menas Democrats have given new power to the Republican minorities in each legislative chamber. Under state law, the number of votes needed to pass budget legislation increases after May 31st (It goes from a simple majority to three-fifths majority).

Now nothing can pass without Republican support, and some lawmakers say a budget agreement could be held up past the expiration of the current state budget on June 30th.

Governor Rod Blagojevich and Senate President Emil Jones announced they had supported a version of the budget that would increase education and welfare spending by more than $1 billion.

But House Speaker Michael Madigan spokesman Steve Brown says the latest Blagojevich-Jones proposal seems to be based on questionable ideas. So, the House adjourned around 11:30 Monday night.

Gov. Blagojevich appeared frustrated that the deadline would pass. "Unfortunately, the House is not able to get its work done. Both Senate President Jones and I look forward to working with the House as we go into overtime to try to help them pass a budget that has the same priorities that we have."

But the governor also disagreed with the idea that a lack of a budget is somehow embarrassing to Democrats, who have total control. "An embarrassment to the Democratic Party would be to sacrifice our values because we have a deadline that we have to meet."

The dawn of an overtime session means lawmakers won't receive their daily per diem while in Springfield. That law was enacted in the 1990s as a way to encourage lawmakers to finish their work on time.


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