Senate Democrats in Illinois overrode Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of the state budget bill in a special session, keeping the Land of Lincoln on a path to insolvency. The Senate passed the budget, which included $36 billion in spending and $5 billion in new taxes, with little debate.
Gov. Rauner slammed state Democratic lawmakers for fiscal irresponsibility. The state has been in a credit crisis and experts say it is now in real danger of defaulting in a fiscal meltdown. The Republican governor’s attempt to reign in spending has left the the nation’s fifth-largest state without a complete budget for two fiscal years.
“The package of legislation fails to address Illinois’ fiscal and economic crisis – and in fact, makes it worse in the long run,” Gov. Rauner said. “It does not balance the budget. It does not make nearly sufficient spending reductions, does not pay down our debt, and holds schools hostage to force a Chicago bailout.”
Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, had called on the upper chamber to sustain the veto and get serious about the state’s fiscal woes.
“I continue to believe we’re missing an opportunity,” Leader Brady said. “I hope that we pick up that opportunity after today and can provide a comprehensive package that moves us forward.”
But Senate President John Cullerton and Democrats, who want to tax their way out of a spending problem, said they are willing to work with Gov. Rauner on non-budgetary measures he supports.
“We will continue to try to enact and put on the governor’s desk many of the reforms that he’s asked for,” Mr. Cullerton said after the override votes. “I’m certainly disappointed he’s vetoed a balanced budget, but I’m glad we were able to override him.”