Budget Heads to Governor

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By Fanna Haile-Selassie

SPRINGFIELD --- The 2014 spring legislative session is drawing to a close. 
 
Senators approved a budget Friday afternoon, two days after the house passed the plan. It now heads to the governor. But many lawmakers say it's incomplete and will cost the state down the road.
 
There are also a few other bills awaiting the governor's signature.
 
House and Senate lawmakers passed the 9-1-1 funding bill which was set to expire in July. It renews the surcharge on prepaid wireless transactions for emergency services. Plus, psychologists will soon be able to get specialized training in order to prescribe medications to patients.
 
And a change to the state's EDGE tax program got broad bi-partisan support. It allows for smaller companies to apply for the tax credit.
 
"We removed the million dollar capital requirement and made the job creation a little more flexible, in terms you don't have to be as big a
corporation in order to apply or to be eligible for an EDGE credit," Rep. John Bradley said.
 
But the budget debates stole the show Friday -- drawing mixed reviews from lawmakers.
 
"It will be a budget, again, that is sort of cobbled together. In fact, doing some of the same things that got us the trouble we're in
right now. You're going to steal from some fund, you're going to move some money around," Sen. Dave Luechtefeld said.
 
Luechtefeld said the $35.7 billion budget will get Illinois through this year, but without any cuts, lawmakers are facing a true
fiscal cliff next year.
 
That's why he and Rep. Mike Bost believe the tax extension may still happen after the November election.
 
"It was in the lame duck session when it was passed originally. It is a concern," said Bost.
 
Sen. Gary Forby says the budget could have been worse, but the state needs to get back on focus.
 
"What we ought to be doing is not worrying about taxing people, we ought to be finding jobs for people. Jobs will balance the budget in the
state of Illinois," Forby said.
 
House lawmakers adjourned their session around 8 p.m. Friday evening, but senators stayed in session into early Saturday morning. They were expected to act on a capital construction bill before adjourning.

 

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