The Springfield Republican sat down with us to talk about several key issues involving state government.
Butler said he was taken aback by the Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s decision to go to court to stop payment to government employees without a budget.
“I don’t understand why she does it now,” he said. “If it’s something she truly believes and it’s a constitutional issue as she said, she could have done it a long time ago.”
Butler adds he is concerned it could disrupt bipartisan budget talks going on in the Illinois Senate. He said it adds to the “chaos” in state government.
Butler represents thousands of state workers. Many of them belong to the AFSCME union, which this week begins voting on whether or not to authorize a strike. The union has been unable to come to a new contract agreement with Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Butler said he hopes workers choose not to authorize a work stoppage. He also said both sides have failed to bargain in good faith and need to get back to the table.
As for a state budget, Butler said he believes rank and file lawmakers want to resolve the ongoing impasse. He’s encouraged by the discussions in the senate.
But he also said he would like to see more talk about spending restraint.
“I’m open to revenue. I’m open to seeing a tax increase. But there has to be spending restraint that goes along with it,” Butler said.