By a 63-53 vote, the Illinois House approved House Speaker Michael Madigan's budget plan Wednesday evening.
The House speaker's plan was approved despite a gubernatorial veto threat from the Rauner administration, which contends the proposal is $7 billion short and represents the "phoniest phony budget in recent Illinois history." The Illinois Republican Party also slammed the proposal, saying it could result in "an unprecedented tax hike on Illinois families, workers and small businesses."
The proposal calls for most state spending to be covered under court orders and consent decrees, with $13.7 billion in spending coming out of the general revenue fund.
The budget blueprint doesn't include items on Gov. Bruce Rauner's pro-business, anti-union "turnaround agenda." Working groups of lawmakers are discussing Rauner's turnaround agenda proposals.
During a meeting with the governor and other legislation leaders Wednesday, Madigan reportedly told Rauner "he's not being real persuasive" in those working group negotiations.
"My advice to the governor today is that he and his agents are not being persuasive in the working groups," the House speaker said.
Members of the Responsible Budget Coalition, meanwhile, say the House-approved spending plan falls short in terms of adequate revenue. The group released the following statement:
The House of Representatives' spending plan is woefully short of the revenue needed to provide vital services that support families, communities, and small businesses. This plan fails to give providers the certainty and stability they need to deliver critical state services.
With just days left until the end of the legislative session, the Governor and lawmakers should be laser focused on passing responsible budgets for FY 16 and FY 17. Non-budget agendas should not block fully funded investments in services that save lives, provide safety, attract business and good paying jobs, allow children to grow and succeed, and ensure independence and dignity for seniors and those with disabilities.
In other budget news, the Pay Now Illinois coalition of human and social service agencies took new actions Wednesday involving its lawsuit against the state.
The agencies filed their suit earlier this month against the governor and six state agencies, seeking payment for the services they have rendered since the budget impasse began July 1. Overall, the coalition says the state owes the service providers more than $130 million.
The coalition filed a motion Wednesday, seeking "emergency relief that would require the state to begin immediate payment on contracts that are more than 60 days in arrears, an amount estimated to be $100 million."
"The motion," the coalition said, "argues that the case represents a 'public emergency,' human and social service agencies are facing a cascade of damages - laying off staff, reducing or eliminating essential programs, or shutting down entirely."
The group also added 18 new human and social service agencies to the lawsuit as plaintiffs -- including the Ounce of Prevention Fund, of which Rauner's wife Diana is president -- bringing the total to 82. Two new defendants were added as well, including Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger and the director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority.