Illinois lawmakers look to pass budget, other priorities in last 10 days of session – WQAD.com

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Representatives Tony McCombie and Mike Halpin have a laundry list of bills they’d like to get to the governor’s desk before the end of May.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois lawmakers have ten days to wrap up all their work from the past four months. That includes passing any new laws and the budget.

The budget

“This year, with the COVID pandemic, rising costs, the budget picture is going to be very difficult,” Representative Mike Halpin says.

Illinois has one point three billion dollars in expenses to cover right now.

Democrats in charge of the statehouse are trying to decide whether to find more income for the state or to cut costs somewhere else to make up for it.

“I just don’t know if there will be necessarily conversation or debate back and forth with both sides,” Representative Tony McCombie says.

She adds she’s worried democrats won’t set the right priorities.

Governor J.B. Pritzker plans to save $1 billion by capping the discount stores get right now for doing business in the state and by lowering the tax credit for private school scholarship donations. These are promises McCombie says he’s walking back on.

“I think you can’t go back on your word. Here in Springfield, our word is our bond, and that includes the governor,” she says.

There’s $26 billion coming from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan. And Democrats want to use that money to pay off debt, although Rep. Halpin says they’re not sure if that’s even permitted.

“In our fiscal situation, we need as much funds as possible to pay down old debt and set us on a path to the future,” he says.

Redistricting

New census numbers came out earlier this year, and the state’s congressional districts need to be redrawn since Illinois lost one seat in the u-s house. 

Democrats have been redrawing behind closed doors.

“My priority is to make sure we have a map in the state of Illinois that reflects the diversity of its members,” Rep. Halpin says, “both racial, ethnic, religious, rural communities make sure they’re represented.”

Republicans have been pushing a law that would create a bi-partisan commission to redraw the state’s districts after each census.  

“It should not be us, the party in control, whether you’re republican or democrat, we should not be crafting this map,” Rep. McCombie says.

A bill working through the statehouse would create a commission with an equal number of democrats and republicans, plus two independents, to redraw Illinois’s district map every ten years. That bill has been stuck in a House committee since the end of March, meaning it’s unlikely to get passed.

Democrats plan to meet a June 30th deadline to submit new district maps to the federal government.

Other Priorities

Rep. McCombie says she’s also prioritizing an ethics bill that would prevent lawmakers from lobbying while serving at the statehouse.

Rep. Halpin is also pushing a clean energy bill he says would create jobs in the state.

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via “Illinois Politics” – Google News https://ift.tt/2DKMb2N

May 21, 2021 at 08:29PM

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