OUR VIEW: Another state budget year with frustrating process

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Herald & Review editorial board

Illinois budgeting process remains a frustrating headache.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker discussed the budget in his own terms as he took a victory lap on Tuesday, celebrating the passage of a $42.3 billion budget as a phenomenal success.

Funny how we define success when it comes to the state budget.

Bi-partisan? Not even close. The budget received no “yes” votes from Republicans.

Timely? It is to laugh. Reporters call it “May 32nd” for a reason. In one of its sadly routine failures to meet deadlines, legislators went into the early morning on June 1 before OK’ing the plan.

Succinct? At 3,000 pages? Who are we kidding?

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Republicans complained about Democrats filling the budget with pet projects. Democrats said their bill will grow the economy. The degree of truth for either will come out in the wash – we’ll know by the time we’re casting our next votes which party was how right.

But the depth of the perpetual problem persists. Nancy Pelosi’s 2010 quote – or at least a version of it – remains practically a political requirement. They had to pass the bill so we could see what was in it. (Pelosi’s actual quote in front of the audience at a legislative conference was, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it — away from the fog of the controversy.” Similar words, but in a context that makes the quote more benign.)

Pritzker was insistent on asserting victory, bringing up the legacy of his predecessor Bruce Rauner, under whom Illinois with 736 days without a spending plan. “Illinois became an example for the nation of what happens when government and budgets are mismanaged.”

Don’t underestimate the budget issue’s role in helping Pritzker get elected in 2018. If Pritzker wants to say his efforts have eclipsed Rauner’s, that’s fine.

But it’s not exactly like the bar is set very high if that’s the standard you want to exceed.

There’s little we’ve complained about here that hasn’t been a complaint about this system for years, potentially decades. There has to be a better way of making this sausage.

But we know the odds are heavily against any bi-partisan bridge building at this time – literally and figuratively.

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Region: Decatur,City: Decatur,Opinion,Region: Central

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June 4, 2021 at 07:32PM

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