Illinois House Chamber, July 2: After a full day of waiting for legislation to come to the floor so members of the House can take a vote on the revenue side of the proposed state budget, debate got underway at 5 pm on Sunday.
Rep Greg Harris (D) was the floor manager, who told the House there were changes made since Friday. These changes included the removal of the new tax on cable and satellite firms. There was no negotiations on this legislation with the Governor’s office, as Rep Harris admitted when asked by Republican Leader Durkin.
Rep Durkin continued to ask how the proposal would address the $15 Billion in the backlog of unpaid bills, Rep Harris said the budget, if passed was going to produce $5 billion in more revenue and that surplus funds would be directed to paying off the $15 billion. He suggested that a more permanent solution would be in separate legislation.
Leader Durkin complained that “once again” we get several hundred pages of spending, of billions of dollars, when we only have three hours to review these hundreds of pages, before we are asked to vote on this bill.
“There is nothing we are doing today that addresses the Workmen’s Comp issue, or property tax relief” said Durkin. Durkin who was very positive on Friday’s vote, told the House he would be voting NO, on this legislation.
Rep Dave McSweeney (R), said “We hear a lot of talk about the New York Bond Houses. What about the everyday houses in Illinois? How are they supposed to pay these new taxes. The residents of Illnois, are about to get screwed again.”
But not all Republican lawmakers were against the bill. Rep David Harris (R), said to the House, “no one wants to vote for more taxes, but we have $15 Billion in back bills, and we need to put an end to the uncertainty that is facing the state… We are entering a debt spiral. It is time to quit playing chicken.”
Then in raising his voice, Harris bellowed, “I was not elected to be a representative of the state of Illinois to oversee its financial destruction.”
Rep Peter Breen, “This is a blackmail budget. There are no reforms. There are no savings for citizens.”
Rep. Jeanne Ives (R) “this is the wrong bill at the wrong time.. the only people who will benefit from this are the public sector unions. Not the hard working people, the small businessmen. Every bit of new revenue they get, you’re going to take! For what?”
Rep Michael Unes (R), “We are about to become the first state in the history of the United States to have a junk bond status…. The simple truth is, without this, we will lose thousands of lives, and thousands of jobs. I don’t like this. This is not easy. But the alternative is literally take our state off the cliff. This has got to stop. … all we have is political “gotcha” This is got to stop.”
Rep Carol Ammons (D), “anyone voting NO today, when we are on the brink of collapse, is voting for the ‘Turn Around Agenda'”