SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Legislature worked past its midnight deadline to approve a $42 billion state budget early Tuesday.
The budget was based on tax revenue sources that rebounded much faster from the global pandemic than expected and including $2.5 billion in spending from a multiyear federal relief package.
The plan assembled on the final scheduled day of the Legislature’s spring session incorporated just a portion of the $8 billion Illinois expects in COVID-19 relief money that Congress approved last winter — but that pot includes $1.5 billion in additional construction projects.
Some republicans are saying they didn't get the option to have any say in what that $1.5 billion will be used on. State republican representative Tony McCombie says she's aggravated over that. "There was no asks for any constituent or legislative district spending from our side of the aisle. That could be different organizations needing things, that could be bridges, that could be roads, that could be different horizontal projects. We weren’t asked for anything."
However democratic representative Mike Halpin disagrees, saying the party reached across the aisle but didn't receive the help they needed so moved forward on their own. "We were trying to work with republicans to see what they were prepared to do as far as spending levels, what they were prepared to do in terms of cutting some corporate tax loopholes and we really didn't get any positive responses so we undertook our constitutional duty very seriously and democrats put together a budget for what is needed here in the state."
House Majority Leader Greg Harris pronounced a balanced budget that reinstates $350 million extra for public schools that was promised annually in a 2017 school-funding overhaul saying, "We've invested 350 million new dollars in elementary and secondary education. There's hundreds of millions of dollars going into early childhood as well."