Lawmakers miss budget deadline

June 1, 2009 2:54:34 PM PDT
After failing to come up with a way to fix the state's budget problems over the weekend, Illinois lawmakers met with Governor Pat Quinn Monday to determine their next move.After a brutal weekend that ended without a budget agreement by deadline, the legislative leaders tried to make nice with the governor as referee.

"I think the feeling in the room is very positive. That we are a team," said Governor Pat Quinn, (D) Illinois.

"We are meeting, we are talking," said State Sen. Christine Radogno, Minority Leader.

"I'm very proud of the fact that we had a very successful session by cooperating with the Republicans," said State Sen. John Cullerton, senate president.

But there was no cooperation in the House Sunday where more than two dozen Democrats joined all the Republicans who voted "no" on the proposed 50% increase in the state income tax. The House Minority leader indicated if the Democrats made some changes in union contracts, pension rules and other reforms there might be some yes votes the next time the tax bill comes up:

"We made some observations of things we thought we need to see proceed over the next few weeks and months on reform that we've talked about before," said State Rep. Tom Cross, House Minority Leader.

That left longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan to explain why he couldn't get more of his members to support the tax increase.

"It's very understandable that there were certain democrats in the house who were very concerned about the impact on the general population of the tax increase," said State Rep. Mike Madigan, House Majority Leader.

The Governor said while the negotiations preparing for another tax increase vote continues... programs for children, the elderly and disabled will be notified of impending 50% funding cuts:

"You have to send the notices out to let people know what the possible consequences are," said Gov. Quinn.

Finally, Speaker Madigan assured he would never play politics with the budget and his daughter Attorney General Lisa's reported ambition to run for Quinn's job.

"There's a whole body of people in Illinois who want to criticize me all the time. Lisa Madigan is going to do what she wants to do and she'll do it on her own," said State Rep. Madigan.

The governor has said he won't sign the $26 billion capital construction bill until the lawmakers agree on new revenues to save social services programs. But the clock is running; the budget cuts become effective on July first.

Charles has more on the political beat in his Precinct 7 Blog.


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