Illinois lawmakers enter final stretch of spring session

The last day on the General Assembly’s spring calendar is this Friday. (Dave Dahl/WJBC)

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – By week’s end, Illinois lawmakers just may pass a budget and adjourn.

And budgeting is easier when there is some money to work with.

“I’ve been here during some very rough times,” says House Majority Leader Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston), recalling past administrations, “during the (Bruce) Rauner years, when we had no money, and even (under Pat) Quinn, we were still coming out of a recession.

“It seems that now, people are understanding that we don’t want to overspend, because we don’t know what is going to happen in the next few years, so I think everybody is being quite reasonable.”

State Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) cautions not to forget revenues have suddenly fallen short of forecasts. “Unfortunately, I think a lot of folks are still living in what we thought was our reality four months ago. Fast forward to today, and we know that those revenues have not been realized, and we have some additional pressures.

“So it’s really time for a ‘come to Jesus,’ if you will.”

The Friday deadline, while important for lawmakers who want to get back to their districts, carries no meaning. After May 31, a bill with an immediate effective date requires a three-fifths vote, as opposed to a simple majority. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

Dave Dahl can be reached at [email protected]


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