Bipartisan blame from Long

In a video late last week, state Rep. Jerry Long, R-Streator, blamed the Democratic-controlled House for a budget with a $1.7 billion deficit, saying it violated the state constitution in doing so.

However, in an interview Tuesday, he acknowledged the Republican governor failed to propose a balanced budget.

In the video posted on Facebook, Long said House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, never passed a revenue estimate, which could have avoided the unbalanced budget enacted last year over Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto.

“Just like in your household, you can’t spend money before you know how much you’re bringing in,” Long said.

In an interview earlier Tuesday with The Times, he said, “The fault lies purely on the House. We didn’t accomplish what we needed to do.”

In the video, he didn’t mention the governor’s responsibility to propose a balanced budget.

Last year, Rauner proposed a $37.3 million budget, which included a $4.6 billion revenue item listed as “Working together on ‘grand bargain.’ “

“That referred to negotiations between Senate Republicans and Democrats on increasing revenue and cutting spending to make ends meet. In his budget, however, Rauner never proposed how to make up the $4.6 billion gap.”
In a later interview, Long acknowledged that Rauner’s budget wasn’t balanced.
“It is our responsibility to work across the aisle to get a balanced budget. Both sides weren’t working in good faith,” he said. “I would recommend the governor present a balanced budget. It’s necessary. It’s constitutional.”
Long said the governor “did wrong” when he proposed an unbalanced budget. “But that doesn’t give us latitude” to avoid giving a revenue estimate, he said.

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