By SAM RAPPAPORT
On Thursday, July 9, the Illinois House of Representatives voted to fund critical services and state workers’ salaries until August. The House passed the $2.3 billion temporary budget on a 71-19 vote.
The fiscal year began July 1 with no comprehensive, annual budget in place.
State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-25), a House sponsor of the bill, explained that the temporary spending plan addresses “those direct services that are most critical to working families, the elderly and the disabled.” Such services include child-care, nutrition programs for the elderly, Medicaid and rehabilitation services.
State Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-26) stood behind Currie as a vocal advocate for the temporary solution to Illinois’ budget crisis.
“We are trying to keep essential services so working class people are not used as bargaining chips,” Mitchell said.
The bill was previously approved by the Senate, but because of a House amendment that sees that all state workers receive their July salaries, the temporary budget will return to the Senate floor this week. If passed in the Senate, the budget will go on to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk, where its fate is uncertain.
Currie appeared cautiously optimistic on the prospect of the governor signing the spending plan into law.
“The governor said he wants to fund state workers,” said Currie. “If we put this bill on his desk, we might see the governor act in a way that is contrary to what his party is arguing for.”
Rep. Steven Andersson (R-65), a Republican legislator from Geneva, called out the temporary spending plan as a form of procrastination.
“Does this move us forward to a real budget?” Andersson said. “I think the answer is no.”