Day 6: Illinois House and Senate adjourn special session after 11 minutes

Eric Kohn

Eric Kohn is marketing manager at the Illinois Policy Institute.

Eric Kohn
June 26, 2017

Day 6: Illinois House and Senate adjourn special session after 11 minutes

Six days of special session have cost Illinois taxpayers an additional $300,000 for less than 100 minutes of work.

The sixth day of the special session of the Illinois General Assembly called by Gov. Bruce Rauner saw the Illinois House of Representatives and Senate combined to work the least amount of time yet. The two chambers adjourned after less than 11 total minutes between the two in special session.

The Senate adjourned after only six minutes and five seconds. The House adjourned their special session after just four minutes and 20 seconds.

Over five days, the two legislative chambers have put in less than 100 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 $300,000, or about $3,000 for each minute the House and Senate have worked.

After adjourning from special session, the House entered regular session where it passed two House Joint Resolutions to name two separate Illinois expressways after former President Barack Obama.  House Joint Resolution 17, which renames the entirety of Interstate 294 as the “President Barack Obama Tollway,” passed 84-0House Joint Resolution 36, which renames Interstate 55 between the Tri-State Tollway to mile marker 202 near Pontiac as the “President Barack Obama Expressway,” passed 63-10-1.

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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