National

As special session begins, costs estimated at $48K per day

As special session begins, costs estimated at $48K per day

"Right now our state is in real crisis, and the actions we take in the days ahead will determine how history remembers us", said Rauner.

If the state doesn't enact a plan that reins in its chronic deficit, S&P warned that IL will likely lose its investment-grade status around July 1.

Republicans say Speaker Madigan should adopt their plan or present his own. Speaker (Michael) Madigan and the Democrats will need Republican votes if they want to end this impasse.

Entering a third-straight fiscal year without a spending plan could sink Illinois' credit ratings to "junk", a first for any US state, leaving some investors unable to buy the state's debt and others to demand even fatter yields.

Frerichs said that reaching junk bond status would mean higher costs to the state when it issues debt.

Though Republicans' budget is predicated on higher taxes, such as the income tax hike approved by Senate Democrats, no GOP legislator has actually introduced or formally signed on to a tax hike.

Rauner had previously considered special sessions a waste of time and money, but said it's urgent this year.

Republicans claim it's a "compromise" because the budget and related measures-which includes a four-year property tax freeze, a workers' compensation overhaul and a path to easing local government consolidation-are largely based on series of measures that were part of a bipartisan "grand bargain" in the Senate. The House will also hold a Committee of the Whole on Friday on the topic, which Republicans dismissed as a waste of time and more political theater that distracts from efforts to strike an agreement.

Nevertheless, Gov. Rauner, despite his philosophical opposition to tax increases, said he would accept some new revenue and tax increases, if the Democrats would agree to some of his reforms. Luckily, they will find his balanced budget, with his requested reforms, awaiting approval in the House that already passed the Senate.




Meanwhile, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton told the Sun-Times Editorial Board on Tuesday that he has spoken with Madigan and the members of budgetary working groups.

The general assembly will meet in special session starting Wednesday.

With another downgrade, said Frerichs, "I'm sure the amount we spend in interest will go up even more". Comptroller Susana Mendoza says IL backlog of overdue bills is more than $15 billion.

So much for trying to get things off to a smooth start. Rauner said he could now support that.

"It has to be a compromise", he said. This special session will tell IL residents who wants to govern. Under Governor Rauner today Illinois is dead last in education funding, Illinois has the worst credit rating of any state in the history of the country, and for three years running Illinois is the only state without a budget.

"Tonight, Bruce Rauner tried to reset his failing tenure as Governor of IL by offering nothing new in terms of policy or message".

"I think if he is serious about passing a budget he would not be running television commercials, spending millions of dollars attacking people on the other side of the negotiating table".

"Failure to act is not an option", he said.


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