Illinois Republicans Help Pass Democratic Budget Plan with Big Tax Increase

He says their work is "clearly not done", and in a rare move, took to the floor to tell members they will have to show up for work on Saturday - the first day of Year 3 without a budget. Without a deal this time, the United Way reports that 36 percent of all human services agencies in IL face closure by year's end, according to Rep. Greg Harris, the Chicago Democrat sponsoring the fiscal blueprint.

The state of IL has now been without a budget for three years, but a small glimmer of hope was seen when a bipartisan majority passed a $36.5 billion budget plan authored by the Democrats.

Lawmakers will be in session Saturday to take up the final pieces of what could be a $5 billion tax increase to pay for a $36.5 billion spending bill, and Republicans are lining up votes. Initially, Speaker Madigan had said there would be no votes on substantive bills tomorrow either, but late Saturday afternoon he released a statement that there will be a vote on the revenue package.

Should a deal not be reached, Madigan's key budget negotiator, Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, said that the United Way reports that 36 percent of all human service agencies in the state could close by the end of the year. Illinois' deficit for the current fiscal year is an estimated $6 billion.

IL already has the lowest credit rating of any state, and could become the first to be downgraded to junk status.

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Last year, some schools were in danger of not opening their doors by the start of the school year before an emergency stopgap budget measure was passed.

"I come to you today with great joy, not with regret or despair".

The speaker also sent letters to credit rating agencies, which had threatened to downgrade the state to "junk" status come July 1 without a budget, imploring them to "temporarily withhold judgment and allow legislators time to negotiate a bipartisan, balanced budget".

The proposed budget relies on more than $2 billion in spending cuts and a probable increase in the income tax to raise $5 billion. If lawmakers intend to spend $36.5 billion in fiscal 2018, nearly $5 billion in new revenue would be needed to make it balanced.

While a tax hike is always controversial, stakes are higher given both the gravity of Illinois' financial distress, and the 2018 elections.

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That means the state is entering risky territory. They include cost-cutting changes to workers' compensation, government consolidation and a property tax freeze.

In addition to the budget, the meetings focused on issues demanded by Rauner.

An appropriations amendment passed the Illinois House 90-25, with 23 Republican votes.

- State employee pensions would be fully funded.

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