State Working Towards Budget Rauner Vows To Veto

CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois is working towards a budget that its governor has vowed to veto.

“We have to do something. The House has acted, but we’d prefer to do it with an agreement with Republicans,” Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said.

Cullerton is reacting to an apparent Republican boycott of a leaders meeting meant to help reconcile a House-approved budget, which raises the state income tax from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent.

“We were here to meet with the Republicans, and they’re not here,” Cullerton said.

This follows dramatic moments in the House over the Fourth of July weekend.

“Let’s just send some more income taxes to bloated government at every single level,” said State Rep. Jeanne Ives.

15 Republicans broke ranks and gave Democrats the votes to pass the budget along to the Senate. House Speaker Mike Madigan says the Republican votes were a reaction to repeated intimidation by the governor.

“This is another case where there was intimidation by the Rauner Administration,” Madigan said.

Gov. Rauner responded to the situation on Twitter late Sunday evening, saying, “Under Speaker Madigan, legislators have passed a permanent 32% tax hike, with no real reform. A completely out of balanced budget.” Rauner continued, “I promised you I would fight every day to lead this state into a new direction after decades of failed leadership.”

Business leaders weighed in, saying the tax hikes may raise $5 billion, but fails to address pro business reforms the Rauner has been pursuing.

“This is really kind of a shame,” said Todd Maisch, Illinois Chamber of Commerce.

The House action is seen favorably by S&P Global Ratings, which last month dropped the state’s bond status to one level above junk, following two years without a budget and billions of dollars in unpaid bills. S&P called it “a meaningful step toward a stabilization of Illinois’ fiscal outlook.”

But the non-partisan Illinois Policy Institute says the budget does little to address pension reforms and bloated government.

“Illinois, more than any other state, needs to listen to its people, who are suffering,” said Michael Lucci, who’s with the Institute.

Monday evening, Cullerton said his members will vote Tuesday to try to OK the House budget. They will need at least four Republican votes to block any veto by Rauner.

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