New year demands action on budget

With the expiration of the stopgap budget at the turn of the year, Senate Republican lawmakers say swift and decisive action is needed to ensure those who rely on state assistance continue to receive the funding they need to function.

Budget talks have been ongoing over the last several months, as legislative leaders and the Governor continued to try and find common ground on a budget plan and good government reforms to create jobs, encourage greater economic investment in Illinois and re-establish fiscal solvency and stability in the state. However, Republican leaders and the Governor have said that they will not agree to a plan that simply maintains the status quo. Instead, they emphasized the people of Illinois deserve a balanced budget accompanied by the structural changes necessary to address the state’s significant financial challenges.

Action on a fiscal package could be taken next week when the General Assembly returns to Springfield for what many call a “lame duck” session—a legislative session convened following the November election, but prior to the seating of newly elected members of the Senate and House of Representatives.

In the past, controversial legislation has been pushed through the General Assembly during this short period of time when outgoing lawmakers, who are no longer accountable to the voters, are recruited to vote on particularly sensitive issues.

At this time it’s uncertain what legislation will come before the Legislature on Monday and Tuesday. However, Senate GOP legislators say the focus should remain on the most pressing issue at hand—a state budget resolution.

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