Illinois lawmakers pass bipartisan budget before deadline - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Illinois lawmakers pass bipartisan budget before deadline

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SPRINGFIELD -- For the first time since 2015, Illinois lawmakers have passed a budget before the deadline hits at the end of May.

Those lawmakers call it a balanced budget built by compromise.

In a show of bipartisanship that’s become rare in Springfield, the Illinois House of Representatives voted 97-18 Thursday afternoon to send a budget to the Governor’s desk.

This comes after the Senate voted 56-2 to pass the same budget Wednesday night.

In a statement, Gov. Bruce Rauner called the budget a “step in the right direction” and says he will be “taking action quickly” to sign the budget into law.

The $38.5 billion budget is the biggest in the state’s history,up $1.1 billion from last year.

Appropriations include $8.3 billion for K-12 education, $2.5 billion for the Department of Transportation and $1.8 billion for higher education.

It also includes funding for several projects in southern Illinois, including $1 million dollars to kick start a river port in Cairo, more than $2 million to add a hospital wing to the Cairo Megaclinic and more than $1 million to upgrade fire alarm systems at SIU.

Republican Sen. Paul Schimpf voted for the budget.

He said it wasn’t something he supported 100 %, but that’s the nature of compromise.

"Having a budget is preferable than going into an impasse again, so I was a yes vote and I feel very good about that," Shimpf said.

He adds that the budget met the three points he set out.

"I wanted something that was balanced, something that did not have any tax increases and something that complied with the Illinois Constitution," Shimpf said. "It meets those three guidelines."

Republican Rep. Dave Severin voted against the budget, saying he wanted to see revenue generated from last year’s tax increase used to cut the state’s bill backlog.

"I would have also liked to seen not as much new revenue for programs to be expanded, but to hold the line so we can get this backlog of bills paid," Severin said.

He also says he couldn’t support a bill that includes any taxpayer funding for abortion.

Sen. Dale Fowler, Rep. Natalie Phelps Finnie and Rep. Terri Bryant all voted for the budget.

Rep. Jerry Costello II voted against it.

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