Illinois House lacks quorum for second consecutive day

Eric Kohn

Eric Kohn is marketing manager at the Illinois Policy Institute.

Eric Kohn
July 5, 2017

Illinois House lacks quorum for second consecutive day

The Illinois House of Representatives has lacked a quorum for two straight days, rendering it unable to vote to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the tax hike and budget plan passed by the General Assembly. The Illinois Senate passed the budget plan and tax hike and overrode the governor’s veto on July 4.

While urging the Illinois Senate on July 4 to act quickly in passing a 32 percent income tax hike on Illinoisans, state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, stressed “the fierce urgency of now.” The Senate proceeded to pass the budget plan and tax increase, as well as to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the package, all in the same day.

But it appears the Illinois House of Representatives isn’t feeling the same urgency. For two consecutive days, the House has lacked a quorum to conduct business.

Only 54 of the House’s 118 members answered the July 4 quorum call, according to Fox 2 St. Louis. At the July 5 roll call, 59 members were present, leaving the House one person short of the 60 members required for the chamber to conduct business, according to a report by The Associated Press on ABC News’ website.

Each day of the special session cost taxpayers an additional $50,000, according to an estimate by the Chicago Tribune. The 10 days of the special session cost Illinois taxpayers around $500,000. This is on top of the billions of dollars the state will take from taxpayers each year if the House overrides the governor’s veto and the permanent tax increase becomes law. Lawmakers have not received any additional compensation for the last five days the legislature has been in session.

The inaction by the House comes against the backdrop of credit rating agencies threatening to downgrade the state’s credit rating to junk status if a budget isn’t passed. Illinois currently has the lowest credit rating of any state, and its bonds currently trade as if they were already junk.

House Speaker Mike Madigan has announced a scheduled vote for July 6 to override Rauner’s veto.

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