SPRINGFIELD — Once the current budget impasse is settled, will politicians be able to avoid similar standoffs in the coming years?
Over the past month of budget meetings between legislative leaders and Gov. Bruce Rauner, the question has been raised as to how the current stalemate can be avoided with the current leadership in place.
Rauner believes putting his current agenda, such as term limits, redistricting, and changes to workers’ compensation into place during this fiscal year will help avoid future impasses.
He says once the reforms are in place the level of difficulty of coming up with solutions and growing the economy will be much less, so he anticipates much less difficulty in finding solutions in future years.
House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), says, however, that things shouldn’t be done in the extreme, but in moderation.
The state is now halfway through the fiscal year with no budget in place, though passing a spending plan would now only require a simple majority in the legislature. Some lawmakers have indicated a final budget may not be passed until after the March primary. State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) is advocating a two-year budget plan to put these issues to rest for a while.
Batinick says he doesn’t think lawmakers are going to keep rehashing the same issues over and over again, but one of the reasons he called for a two-year budget was so they just go through it once, and it takes the budgeting process as far as from the election process as possible, which he thinks would be a good thing.
Lawmakers are set to return to Springfield on January 13, with Rauner scheduled to give his budget address for the next fiscal year on February 17.