SPRINGFIELD – Senate Democrats rammed nine bills through the Senate appropriations committee as part of an unbalanced budget plan pushed forward after Democrat leaders walked away from negotiations with Governor Bruce Rauner. The bills passed the committee on a party line vote, without a single Republican voting yes.
“Anything less than a balanced budget is a shameful disregard to the taxpayers of this state,” said Senator Barickman. “This is just more of the failed status quo, which undermines the very programs that the sponsors are pretending to protect.”
Estimates place the unbalanced Democrat budget as spending around $4 billion more than the state is expected to take in.
Senator Barickman pointed to the Illinois Constitution which states that Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year.
“This unbalanced budget is a clear violation of the Illinois Constitution and the oath every lawmaker took to uphold that document,” said Sen. Barickman. “Anyone voting for this has done a disservice to the residents of this state.”
Barickman noted the aftermath of the underfunded Fiscal Year 2015 budget, which left lawmakers and the Governor scrambling to fill a $1.6 billion budget hole Democrats knowingly advanced in their previous budget, which left many state programs facing devastating shortfalls.
“Last year they rammed through a 12 month budget with 9 months of funding and it was an unmitigated disaster,” said Sen. Barickman. “Instead of learning from the mistakes of the past, Democrat leadership has seen fit to come up with something even worse.”
Governor Rauner has been attempting to strike a balance with Democrat leaders on major reforms that can repair the state’s broken fiscal condition. However, those same leaders turned their backs on the good-faith negotiations and decided to pass their own budget instead.
“The residents of this state made it clear in November that they were tired of the failed status quo and they voted for change,” said Senator Barickman. “This shameful budget ignores the clear mandate from the people of Illinois to reform our state before asking them for another dime in taxes.”