Day 3: Illinois House and Senate adjourn special session after only 17 minutes

Eric Kohn

Eric Kohn is marketing manager at the Illinois Policy Institute.

Eric Kohn
June 23, 2017

Day 3: Illinois House and Senate adjourn special session after only 17 minutes

Three days of special session have cost Illinois taxpayers $150,000 for less than an hour of work.

Day three of the special session of the Illinois General Assembly called by Gov. Bruce Rauner saw the Illinois House of Representatives and Senate spend the least amount of time working yet.

The Senate adjourned after only 10 minutes and one second, while the House was in special session for only six minutes and 44 seconds. Over three days, the two legislative chambers have put in less than 60 minutes of work in special session.

With each day of special session costing taxpayers about $50,000, according to an estimate from the Chicago Tribune, the special session has run taxpayers about $2,500 for each minute the House and Senate have worked.

As on the second day, many senators were absent from the floor at the special session’s noon start time, according to NBC 5 Chicago’s Mary Ann Ahern.

The special session lasts through June 30, when the current fiscal year expires.

Both parties claim to want a compromise on a budget to prevent Illinois from becoming the first state with a junk credit rating. However, Democrats and Republicans alike have proposed plans to raise taxes by more than $5 billion, which would increase the average Illinois household’s tax burden by $1,125 each year. But Illinoisans have expressed that they don’t want a budget that hikes taxes.

Nearly two-thirds of likely Illinois voters don’t want an income tax hike as part of the state budget, according to polling conducted by Fabrizio, Lee & Associates and commissioned by the Illinois Policy Institute. More than three-quarters of respondents oppose hiking sales taxes. And nearly 80 percent agree “Illinois state lawmakers should pass major structural reforms before passing any tax increase.”

The Illinois Policy Institute has introduced a budget proposal that offers real reform without raising taxes. This kind of reform-minded, no-tax-hike proposal is in line with what Illinoisans want. Lawmakers should use that as a framework while taxpayers pay for their costly special session.

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