On the final day of the spring legislative session, the Illinois General Assembly officially passed a state budget.
Following two years of stalemates and without a state budget prior to the summer of 2017, Illinois lawmakers were able to compromise on a new budget for the second year in a row.After Wednesday night’s Senate vote, which resulted in overwhelming support of the new state budget, it was time for the Illinois House to take their turn yesterday afternoon. Similar to the one-sided vote in the Senate the previous evening, the House also passed the new state budget with strong bipartisan support by a final vote of 99-15.
Among the only 15 Illinois lawmakers to cast “no” votes was State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer, of Jacksonville. Davidsmeyer explains his reasoning behind voting against the state budget, saying that there are a handful of issues he believes still exist within the spending plan as it currently stands.
“There’s really just a few main reason why I didn’t support it. First, it does nothing to cut spending. Second, it under-funds our pension with gimmicks to try to get employees to have the state buyout their pensions, and it doesn’t pay old bills. A lot of people made a difficult decision last year to ask the people of Illinois for more taxes, and everybody who was diametrically opposed to that decided to spend every penny this year on programs instead of paying old bills,” says Davidsmeyer.
Despite his vote against the new state budget, Davidsmeyer says there are a number of bullet points within the budget that he believes to be positive. He also discusses the bipartisan effort it took to pass the state budget.
“There were specific things I asked on the floor. I asked if there was whole funding including for the Illinois School for the Deaf and the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired because that’s very important to me and to our community. I asked if the back pay was going to be paid, that’s the oldest bill that the state of Illinois has, so I guess we have one old bill that’s going to be paid. There was a good effort by both sides to come together and come to an agreement. But at the end of the day, we have to start paying our old bills, we can’t always kick those old bills to the next year,” Davidsmeyer explains.
Having been approved by both the Senate and the House, Illinois’ spending plan now heads to the desk of Governor Bruce Rauner. According to Davidsmeyer, the Illinois General Assembly has been assured by Rauner that the new state budget would be signed into law.