Illinois budget: Progress on pause - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Illinois budget: Progress on pause

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WSIL -- One day after passing several components of the so-called "Grand Bargain" legislative package, the Illinois Senate, along with the House, adjourned for the day without considering a single bill related to the budget.

While both sides praised some of the measures the senate passed on Wednesday, like changing the state's purchasing rules and reforming the pension system, they're hung up taxes.

Both sides agree the state income tax should be raised, but Republicans have a stipulation.

"We have consistently said we need property tax parity. If we're going to have an income tax that lasts four years, we need a property tax freeze for four years," said State Sen. Bill Brady, the deputy Republican senate leader.

But Democrats said a four-year property tax freeze will hurt schools, especially poor schools.

Now, both sides accuse the other of putting on a show.

"I'm pretty sure (Republicans) haven't voted for a complete balanced budget since 2002, which is 15 straight years of not voting for a budget. I know this is a new tough experience," said Democratic State Sen. John Cullerton, the senate president.

State Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Murphysboro, said he wished Democrats had waited a little longer before moving forward with votes.

"I wish the Democrats would've given the negotiations a little more time to continue making progress," said Schimpf. 

Despite the frustration, Schimpf remains optimistic.

"We have proof that progress has been made. I just want to see that progress continue," he said.

Time is running out for lawmakers to pass a budget.

If they don't pass a budget by May 31st, they will need a super-majority to approve one, which most analysts say is nearly impossible in the current political environment.

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