Illinois state representatives await return date to state capitol amid budget negotiations

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Governor J.B. Pritzker has authorized more than $700M in budget cuts, including furloughs for some state employees.

Illinois State Representative Tony McCombie is starting off her week donating blood, and wondering when she and other lawmakers might return to Springfield. 

"There’s a lot of things in play right now," State Rep. McCombie says. "We still don’t have a House schedule. Typically, we go back on January 4th and we haven’t heard that yet."

While the State Senate will be in session next week, a return date for the House hasn’t been set. 

"One cannot do anything without the other of course," State Representative Dan Swanson says. "Legislation put together in the Senate must pass the House, and legislation put together in the House must pass the Senate, so it would make senses to be there together."

State Rep. Swanson hopes to return to Springfield at the start of the new year as well, so both the House and Senate can be a part of state budget negotiations. 

"Last May when the budget was passed, we weren’t part of those discussions," State Rep. Swanson says. "We didn’t put any votes on it. Each year we draft our budget, but each year it’s turned aside." 

"For us to spend hours and hours to draft a budget not utilized for the state of Illinois would be a moot point," State Rep. McCombie says. 

Governor J.B. Pritzker has already authorized $700 Million in budget cuts to address a nearly $4 Million budget shortfall. Part of the cuts include furloughing some state employees.

"I don’t think that’s appropriate. (Government employees are) essential," State Rep. McCombie says. "To pick and choose who is and who isn’t is not fair for families."

"Furloughing employees may not be the solution if those services are needed, and many are needed," State Rep. Swanson says.  

While State Rep. Mike Halpin says he’s glad that the governor proposed budget cuts, he also expressed some concerns with the governor’s planned furloughs. 

"Although cuts are essential, I worry that targeting state employees, when we are already at historically low headcount, will further interfere with the State’s ability to provide services Illinoisans need," Halpin says. "For years, state employees have been asked to do more with less. State employees have shared in the sacrifice over the past decade, even as we refuse to ask our wealthiest Illinoisans to do so. These are good, middle-class jobs, and furloughs or layoffs will only further widen the gap between rich and poor."

via wqad.com

December 28, 2020 at 07:09PM

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