Illinois Lawmakers Debate Budget Legislation And The Past
Illinois lawmakers are working on a budget for next year, but the state has gone nine months without a budget for this year. Governor Bruce Rauner's office made its case Wednesday before members of the Senate.
The governor has asked legislators to give him extraordinary powers to unilaterally cut the budget. They're considering a proposal to letRaunerreduce or delay pension payments. The measure would give the governor the power to make unilateral cuts and reallocate money around state government.
TimNuding,Rauner'sbudget director, said the governor would rather get a bipartisan deal, including the pension changes, instead of going it alone.
Senate President JohnCullertonhas a pension proposalRaunersupports. ButCullertonsaid his legislation is not a quick fix for the state's massive pension liability.
"I can assure you the best way to pass is not to introduce it now," he said. "So, if we want to work together on actually passing the bill, I would suggest that we would strategize because right now we don't have enough votes."
The bitterness between Democratic lawmakers, who control both chambers, and members ofRauner'sRepublican administration was evident during the hearing. Each side accused the other of being responsible for the state's financial mess and for not doing enough to resolve it.Listen to the story and the exchange between Sen. Raoul and Richard Goldberg.
One of the governor's top aides Richard Goldberg denied his office walked away from a budget compromise last year, an accusation leveled by State SenatorKwameRaoul.
"It was not the speaker, it was not the senate president who terminated those meetings, it was the governor,"Raoulsaid.
Goldergjumped in, saying that wasn't true whileRaoulkept saying he wasn't finished talking.
Legislators passed a pension overhaul in 2013, but last year the Illinois Supreme Court rejected it as unconstitutional.
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