Illinois lawmakers return from break facing budget issues
Illinois lawmakers are returning to the Capitol this week to resume work on trying to end a budget stalemate that has eluded them for almost two years.
The State Journal-Register (http://bit.ly/2pa3xOx ) reports that just before lawmakers’ two-week spring break, the House approved another stopgap spending bill that would give more than $800 million to human-services programs and higher education. But an overall Illinois budget remains a work in progress.
Issues include school funding reform, pension changes, a higher minimum wage and other matters that were part of the Senate’s “grand bargain.” Efforts to pass the Senate plan include a dozen interconnected bills that suffered a major setback when Republican support evaporated nearly overnight in early March.
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who has been at odds with the Democratic-controlled Legislature, has said he believes a deal is close.
“We’re negotiating in the Senate right now. Democrats and Republicans are coming together,” Rauner said last week. “We’re very close. We could get it done in the next couple of weeks.”