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Watch: Illinois Budget Impasse 2017, Part Deux

Published by Huffington Post on Fri, 19 Feb 2016

Gov. Bruce Rauner made history this week when he delivered his Fiscal Year 2017 Illinois budget plan without the state ever having enacted an operating budget for FY 2016. If things proceed as Rauner would like, the state would enact a budget for FY 2017 and, in effect, allow the non-existent FY 2016 budget to become an asterisk in the history books. It's a horrible prospect for public colleges and universities, which would go an entire year without any state funding and then receive a one-year appropriation that's slightly lower than that of FY 2015. But that assumes negotiations on the 2017 budget go any more smoothly than those of the current year. And that is a mighty shaky assumption. In his Budget Address on Wednesday, Rauner offered the Democrats who control the General Assembly two choices: (1) Pass some of his Turnaround Agenda items (term limits, a property tax freeze, local control of collective bargaining, lawsuit reform, workers' compensation reform that makes injured workers prove their injury was primarily caused on the job, legislative redistricting reform) and Rauner will work with Democrats to create new revenue to close a gap of $3.5 billion or (2) give him extraordinary budget authority to create and balance the budget on his own with cuts only. The message was not a whole lot different than that of Rauner's first Budget Address, delivered on Feb. 18, 2015, in which he introduced his Turnaround Agenda. Nor was the reaction from House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton -- the two Democratic leaders of the General Assembly -- any different than last year. Are we headed into a second consecutive year of a protracted budget impasse' That's what we look at on this week's "Only in Illinois." NEXT ARTICLE: Illinois smoking age would be 21 under new bill -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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