Day 9: Illinois House and Senate adjourn special session after 12 minutes

Eric Kohn

Eric Kohn is marketing manager at the Illinois Policy Institute.

Eric Kohn
June 29, 2017

Day 9: Illinois House and Senate adjourn special session after 12 minutes

Nine days of special session have cost Illinois taxpayers an additional $450,000 for just over two hours of work.

The Illinois House of Representatives and Senate adjourned from the ninth day of special session after less than 12 total minutes between the two chambers.

The Senate adjourned after only six minutes and 28 seconds. The House gaveled out of special session after four minutes and 50 seconds.

Over nine days of the special session called by Gov. Bruce Rauner with the intent of passing a state budget, Illinois lawmakers have spent just 134 minutes actually in special session. The state remains without a budget.

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 $450,000, or about $3,350 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. 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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