Today, another spring legislative session ended, and with it ended another opportunity to stop the financial death spiral gripping Illinois. Despite the efforts of many rank-and-file members to create a balanced budget compromise, Illinois’ rigged political system has once again superseded good governance.
Over the past year, I took part in working groups and special commissions to address the budget crisis and the pressing need to reform Illinois’ school funding formula. These good faith discussions and negotiations were more productive than I expected and I was optimistic about the legislation we began to put together. Staying positive in Springfield these days isn’t easy, but it seemed like a ray of hope was finally beginning to shine.
Sadly, Speaker Madigan once again wielded his power to pull the rug out from under these efforts at the last minute. It’s clear that even though the methods of the past aren’t working anymore, the Speaker is more interested in keeping control of the process, whatever the cost. His own leadership team has suggested on multiple occasions that there won’t be a full budget during Governor Rauner’s term. This is not how our Republic is supposed to work. Meanwhile, taxpayers, job creators and those in need of certainty for social services will continue lose out.
We can still pass a balanced budget before the current fiscal year ends on June 30, albeit through a more restrictive process now. Failure to do so will cause even more services to stop. We must stop the political games and do what’s right to pass a balanced budget built on reasonable reform before it is too late.