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Despite promises, IL lawmakers will not vote on budget this weekend

02 July 2017, 02:14 | Lucy Hill

State Governor Bruce Rauner has spoken of potentially extending the Illinois legislative session

State Governor Bruce Rauner has spoken of potentially extending the Illinois legislative session

House lawmakers adjourned Friday without approving a budget, officially entering a third fiscal year without one, but with optimism that a deal can be reached over the weekend. "The folks who usually drive this had forever to get it done and when it became very clear that it was not going to happen, it was time to say enough, this has to end".

The preliminary nature of the vote means IL missed the deadline and will begin a third year-fiscal year 2018-without a budget in place.

After a House Republican caucus meeting Friday morning, Minority Leader Jim Durkin emerged and said representatives are finally expected to take up and debate tax increases.

If the General Assembly can't agree on a compromise budget by midnight, IL begins its third straight fiscal year without one. The fiscal morass is the longest in any state since at least the Great Depression.

S&P and others have vowed to lower Illinois' bond rating status to "Junk" if lawmakers don't come up with a budget.

Meanwhile, Madigan has sent letters to credit rating agencies asking them for more time before they likely downgrade, yet again, Illinois' bond ratings. The speaker also says the governor must also halt an ongoing bid for new and lucrative Medicaid managed care contracts so that it can be subject to the state procurement code, and he wants Rauner to commit to a signing a law regulating the rates charged by workers' compensation insurers. Without a deal this time, the United Way reports that 36 percent of all human services agencies in IL face closure by year's end, according to Rep. Greg Harris, the Chicago Democrat sponsoring the fiscal blueprint.

"I am committing to put Republican votes on this, not just get this passed but to bring us past 71 and that is my commitment to you".

Exhortations came from the other side of the aisle as well.

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The House will be back in session on Saturday where they are expected to finally vote on the spending plan and tax hike bill.

Denzler said companies won't invest where they fear the future: "Companies need to know what is coming down the road where they do business, and we don't have that certainty at all".

"I think this is a challenge for our business customers", Smith said.

Following a bipartisan vote in the House to amend the Democrat's $36.5 billion spending plan, Speaker Michael Madigan said lawmakers should expect to be in tomorrow.

"Eastern Illinois University and Lake Land College are vital to Coles County and to our Illinois community". But Illinois' stalemate has been unprecedented since it reached a full year.

Consolidated customers who would normally receive direct funding or service reimbursements from the state are having trouble getting these payments, Smith said.

The proposed budget in the House relies on increasing the state income tax and cutting $2.4 billion. "That will eliminate the structural budget deficit, pay off the unpaid bills and establish a reserve fund", said Jay Henderson, chairman of the Civic Committee's tax policy task force. While we've made progress on solving the governor's budget crisis, we are not done.

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