Democrats Introduce Spending Plan

Jun 28, 2017

Illinois Democrats took another step in budget negotiations Tuesday, proposing a spending plan for state government.

House Speaker Michael Madigan acknowledges it won’t meet every request of Gov. Bruce Rauner.

“But I think that it goes a long way toward giving the state of Illinois a good solid spending plan that responds to the real needs of the state ... and, significantly, is below the level of the governor’s introduced budget," Madigan said.

Democrats say their plan wouldn’t create any new programs. But it would direct money away from some of Rauner’s priorities — like modernizing state computers — to shore up social services.

Republicans say they’re still analyzing the plan.

Neither Democrats nor Republicans have been willing to say exactly how they’ll pay for their competing budgets. Both have held back on legislation to raise taxes.

911 Fees and AT&T Landlines

Meanwhile, Republicans criticized Madigan for what they characterize as introducing a new demand in budget negotiations.

House Republican Leader Rep. Jim Durkin says Madigan is insisting that Rauner sign off on a bill to let Chicago raise cell-phone fees.

“Three-and-a-half days out before the close of the fiscal year, and new demands from the speaker over-complicates closure to this process," Durkin said.

If Chicago raises the fees, the money would be used to pay for 911 services. The bill would also extend funding for downstate 911 centers, and would let AT&T phase out traditional landline telephone service.

The legislation passed with bipartisan support, but Rauner prefers a so-called “clean” bill that would allow current 911 services to continue.

House Democratic spokesman Steve Brown said he's not sure he'd call Madigan's position on the legislation a "demand." He says Republicans outlined Rauner's objections to the Chicago mobile phone fee hikes that would be allowed by the legislation, and Madigan responded that the governor should just sign the bill.