Springfield, IL – It’s now been over a week since the General Assembly’s May 31 adjournment date and with only a few weeks left until the new fiscal year begins, Republican lawmakers and the Governor remain motivated to reach some sort of budget deal before July 1.
The need for a fiscal plan was further underscored June 9 when Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s both downgraded Illinois’ credit rating, citing the political gridlock that has led to the state’s year-long budget gap. That same day, Comptroller Leslie Munger spoke out, stressing the need to pass a budget to address those services and programs that have gone unfunded for the last year, and for lawmakers to come together on a bipartisan spending plan to ensure critical series remain funded.
Members of legislative budget working groups have been working rigorously to create at minimum a fully-funded, short-term “stopgap” measure to fund K-12 schools, universities and social services, and keep state operations going for the next six months. Unfortunately, the majority Democrat leaders have indicated they are unwilling to discuss a full budget, accompanied by structural reforms, until after the November election.
However, lawmakers from both parties have expressed concerns over passage of K-12 education funding to ensure schools can open on time in the fall. Republican lawmakers stressed schools shouldn’t be held hostage to budget talks—or until Democrats can advance a funding package that directs hundreds of millions of additional dollars to Chicago Public Schools. In response, Senate and House GOP legislators have joined the Governor in pushing for legislation they have sponsored (SB 3434/HB 6583) that would fully fund K-12 education so students can head back to school on time this fall.