Despite statements made by Senate President John Cullerton recently week stating that the Senate has done its work, Senate Republicans remain adamant that the Senate Democrats’ partisan budget and watered-down reforms are a stark departure from the Senate budget and reform package being discussed in bipartisan working groups until Senate Democrats opted to move forward with their own agenda.
In response, several Senate Republicans, joined by a number of their House colleagues, filed a refreshed compromise plan that places budget negotiations back on the bipartisan track they were on before the Senate majority walked away from negotiations late last month.
The renewed package is based on a balanced budget bill with a four-year hard spending cap of $36 billion and approximately $5 billion in spending reductions and adjustments. Incorporated into the comprehensive plan is a four-year property tax freeze, government consolidation allowing for more local control, workers’ compensation reform providing relief to business owners while still protecting workers, education funding reform for more equitable school funding, pension reform that is expected to save taxpayers approximately $1 billion per year, and term limits for legislative leaders and constitutional officers.
Each component included in the budget proposal incorporates critical compromises from both parties, demonstrating Republican lawmakers’ willingness to reach across the aisle and work with the majority to put an end to an unprecedented budget crisis that has beset Illinois for two years.