SPRINGFIELD — By Thursday, Illinois may finally see a budget agreement for the first time in more than two years — if Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has his way.
The speaker announced the House will vote Thursday to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a budget package that cleared the House on Sunday.
“The House will hold a vote on Thursday, July 6 to override the governor’s vetoes of the balanced budget sent to him,” Madigan said in a statement. “House Democrats look forward to working with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to begin healing the wounds of the last several years.”
Speaking in the Hegewisch neighborhood of Chicago not long after Madigan issued that statement, Rauner again objected to what the House seems poised to do.
“Do not vote to override my veto,” Rauner said. “Do not raise taxes without fundamental reform.”
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The House on Wednesday adjourned without taking override votes because not enough members were in attendance for the second day in a row.
Instead, the vote will occur Thursday. The House will convene at 1:30 p.m.
Moody’s rating agency, meanwhile said in an email that it has placed the State of Illinois’ current rating of Baa3 “on review for possible downgrade.”
That review, according to Moody’s “incorporates our expectation that the Illinois House of Representatives will override Governor Rauner’s veto and implement revenue increases as part of the budget proposal.”
According to Moody’s, “despite the progress toward budget balance” in the legislative package, “… the plan appears to lack concrete measures that will materially improve Illinois’ long-term capacity to address its unfunded pension liabilities.”
On Independence Day, the Illinois Senate quickly passed the budget package, then quickly voted to override Rauner’s vetoes which came down quickly on Tuesday.
The House adjourned on Wednesday about 10:15 a.m. with just 59 members in attendance. The most controversial element of the budget plan, a revenue measure that will hike the income tax rate to 4.95 percent, had 71 votes — including 15 House Republicans.
Lawmakers were summoned to Springfield for 10 days of special session on June 21, and have been in session since. A new fiscal year began on July 1 — and credit agencies had warned that without a spending plan in place, the state’s bond rating could be downgraded to “junk” status.
The biggest development came Sunday night, when the Illinois House cleared a revenue and spending plan during a lengthy, emotional debate in which many legislators voicing their frustrations over the stalemate. They followed Monday with approving a budget implementation plan.
The state has been without a full budget since July 1, 2015.
The Illinois Senate spearheaded efforts to end the budget stalemate in January, when leaders produced a “grand bargain” package. Those bills were developed through bipartisan negotiations, but passed with just Democratic support. Some elements changed in the House, but the rate of 4.95 percent for the income tax hike was negotiated by both sides of the aisle. And Rauner had pushed for a “Capitol compromise” plan that included that rate.
Still, after it was passed, the governor dubbed it “Madigan’s 32 percent permanent income tax increase.” In his veto message of the budget plan, Rauner said it didn’t include property tax relief, regulatory relief to businesses or term limits.
While the Senate passed a two-year property tax freeze measure, it failed in the House amid concern the freeze would negatively impact poor school districts.
Rauner had said for months he would approve the tax hike if it was tied to a four-year property tax freeze. The governor and Republicans wanted a temporary hike, however. The revenue plan which cleared both chambers is a permanent one.
Contributing: Sam Charles