Three Budget Related Bills Pass in the Senate

Now there are just 8 days left until the end of the legislative session to get a state budget done. (WRSP)

There was movement Tuesday at the Capitol, as three vital bills passed in the Senate.

Now there are just 8 days left until the end of the legislative session to get a state budget done.

"We've stemmed the bleeding,” Senate President, John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said. “Investing in our people, and we are ending this chaos that we have at the state level."

Senate President, John Cullerton, held a press conference after the Senate passed three crucial bills that could lead to a new state budget.

First was an amended $37.3 billion spending plan; followed by the authorization act to implement the cuts in that plan.

Third, a revenue bill that would increase taxes to create about $5.4 billion in new revenue.

Individual tax rates would go up and sales taxes would be applied to services like dry cleaning, landscaping, cable, satellite and more.

“We acknowledged in the Senate with the grand bargain,” said Cullerton. “That the Governor wanted structural reforms, so we already passed a good number of them."

Some of those passed, a pension reform, purchasing reform, government consolidation, and an increase in education funding.

But Republicans feel a vote should have come after further negotiation.

"Well I was hopeful this wouldn't happen,” Senator Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, said. “I was hopeful that what we would do is sit down and meet, continue to make progress, as we have been making progress, and then come out with a bipartisan solution that touches all the areas that we've been talking about."

One area was the property tax freeze that was voted down last week.

Tuesday, Governor Bruce Rauner pledged not to sign off on any budget that increases taxes without real property tax relief.

Rauner said, "The biggest issue that now stands in the way of us reaching an agreement is resistance to freezing your property taxes."

"We got to have leaders,” Senator Michael Hastings, D-Tinley Park, said. “That are committed to leading, and right now I’m not sure we have that in the gubernatorial office."

“I am very proud,” Sen. Cullerton said wrapping up his press conference. “Of what the Senate did today [Tuesday] ."

Now, these bills are heading out of the Senate and moving to the House, but at this time, it’s not certain whether they will be called.

May 31 is the end of session and the new fiscal year starts in July.

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