2,300 Pages

2,300 Pages

Can you read 2,300 pages in just a few hours? There is no way Illinois state legislators are reading the entire budget before they go to vote on it.

by Kristina Rasmussen

Try reading a 2,300-page budget bill in 3 hours. It would require reading a page of technical legislative language every 5 seconds. Could you do it? I couldn’t.

Yet that’s the situation facing Illinois State Senators last night, when legislative leaders dropped a budget just hours before the relevant committee voted on it.

Did senators know what they were voting for and against? As reported by the State Journal-Register, Senator Chris Lauzen said “It’s not humanly possible that anyone has read this bill.”

The Institute’s Economic Reform Agenda had a prescription for the problem of ramming through a budget bill with little time for oversight:

  • Budget Transparency – This legislation would give the public seven days to review the budget online before it is voted upon in the House and Senate, thereby providing additional time for the media and public to review and provide input.

Seven days of review time sure beats three hours.

Both the House and Senate are focused on creating a “lump sum” budget, whereby chunks of money are appropriated to state departments and agencies without specific details about how that money should be spent.

If the General Assembly can’t figure out to pass a detailed balanced budget, I’d recommend they take a closer look at our Budget Solutions 2011. The Institute’s alternative budget aligns spending with available revenues and shows exactly where the money would be spent on a line-by-line basis.

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