State Senator Fears Time Running Out To Pass Budget, Salvage Economy

CHICAGO (CBS) — A west suburban state lawmaker said time is running out for a resolution to the state budget stalemate that could actually save the Illinois economy.

Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) said she is hopeful the Illinois House will work out a budget compromise before the end of the month. The state’s new fiscal year starts July 1.

The Illinois Senate has approved a $37 billion budget plan that relies on more than $5 billion in tax increases, but the Illinois House did not vote on the plan before the May 31 deadline to pass a budget with a simple majority vote. It now takes a 3/5ths majority to approve a budget for the next fiscal year.

“They’re going to be having meetings, and hopefully … I mean, we need to have a budget by June 30. May 31 is sort of an artificial date. We need it by June 30,” she said.

Holmes noted there are enough Democratic senators to pass a budget and override a veto by Gov. Bruce Rauner, if necessary. The situation is different in the House, which will need Republican support to pass a budget and survive a potential veto, but Holmes said an agreement is still possible.

“There’s a huge group of us – probably about 25 of us; House, Senate, Democrats, Republicans – that were meeting. So I know there’s a lot of areas that we are in complete agreement on; the most important being that, obviously, the worst thing for the state is the lack of stability not having a budget,” she said.

Many observers have predicted the stalemate won’t be resolved before the 2018 election for governor. Holmes said she’s “terrified” of that prospect.

“I think every one of us that is close to the issue, that knows how much damage that this has done to the state, is literally terrified,” she said.

Holmes said she fears the public doesn’t realize how much the state is being hurt after going nearly two years without a full balanced state budget.

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