Day 5: 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 25, 2017

Day 5: Illinois House and Senate adjourn special session after only 17 minutes

Five days of special session have cost Illinois taxpayers an additional $250,000 for less than 90 minutes of work.

The Illinois House of Representatives and Senate spent less than 17 minutes in special session before adjourning during lawmakers’ fifth day back in Springfield, once again spending minimal time focusing on the state budget.

The House adjourned after a mere seven minutes and 40 seconds. The Senate was gaveled out of special session after just nine minutes and 12 seconds.

Over five days, the two legislative chambers have put in less than 90 minutes of work in special session.

With each day of special session costing taxpayers about an additional $50,000, according to an estimate from the Chicago Tribune, the special session has run taxpayers around $250,000, or about $2,800 for each minute the House and Senate have worked.

Legislative leaders from both parties met on the afternoon of June 25, convening for the first time in six months. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said that Republicans and Democrats would not meet again until House Speaker Mike Madigan unveiled his own budget plan, according to a report from Chicago Tribune reporter Monique Garcia.

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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