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GOP Presents Conditions for New State Budget

Updated: Thursday, February 20 2014, 10:46 AM CST
Illinois Senate President John Cullerton is publicly calling out the state's Republican lawmakers, demanding they lay out their budget proposals.

Cullerton, a Democrat, says he needs their help to plug a massive hole in the state budget. Senate Republicans say they'll play ball, but not before laying down some ground rules.

Today was scheduled to be the governor's budget address, but that has been moved back to late March, after the primary election.

When Republican senators voiced their concern over the move, Cullerton called them out, telling the GOP to bring their proposals forward.

The Chicago Democrat said he needs their help to plug a $2.9 billion budget hole. But now, the Republican caucus is laying down its own demands. They say for any budget to get their support, it must include letting the tax hike expire, and killing talk of a progressive income tax.

"There's no budget that can succeed, unless we fix the underlying economy in this state, because we may have a one-year budget document that may take care of the next few months, but then we're going to be right back in that crisis mode, because we're losing employers, and we're losing families," Radogno said.

The Republicans also want new workers' compensation reform passed, with primary causation. That means employees need to actually be injured on the job in order to receive benefits. They want a prohibition on the creation of new programs, or expansion of existing state programs. They also want a show of bipartisan sincerity in eliminating the Chicago Schools Block Grant.

That would follow a recommendation by the education funding advisory committee, led by Democratic Sen. Andy Manar and Republican Sen. Dave Luechtefeld.

Cullerton added his hands are mostly tied here, because the majority of the budget is mandated by state law or court orders. After fulfilling those mandates, Cullerton says, lawmakers are only left with $11 billion of a nearly $35.5 billion budget where they can make cuts, and that one of the areas open to cuts is one that can least afford it--school funding. Previous education cuts have left local school districts statewide in the red, and looking to local taxpayers for help.
GOP Presents Conditions for New State Budget

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