Day 7: Illinois House and Senate adjourn special session after 11 minutes for second consecutive day

Day 7: Illinois House and Senate adjourn special session after 11 minutes for second consecutive day

Seven days of special session have cost Illinois taxpayers an additional $350,000 for less than 2 hours of work.

The Illinois General Assembly is seven days into the special session but lawmakers continue to spend minimal time actually in special session, which Gov. Bruce Rauner called with the intent of passing a state budget.

The Illinois House of Representatives and Senate adjourned from the seventh day of special session after less than 11 total minutes between the two chambers. The Senate adjourned after only six minutes and 49 seconds. The House marked its shortest special session yet, adjourning after a mere three minutes and 55 seconds.

Over seven days, the two legislative chambers have put in less than 111 minutes of work in special session. With each day of special session costing taxpayers an additional $50,000, according to an estimate from the Chicago Tribune, the special session has run taxpayers around $350,000, or about $3,150 for each minute the House and Senate have worked.

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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