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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Rauner's Budget Cut Plan Takes Spectacular Fall

Flickr user Jim Bowen / "Illinois State Capitol" (CC BY 2.0)

Democrats in the Illinois House had a strong message for Governor Bruce Rauner: "We won't pass your budget." 

The new Republican Governor's plan reduces Illinois' budget by $6 billion for the next fiscal year. That means doing away with, or spending less, on everything from healthcare for the poor, autism services, and support for older foster kids.

No GOP legislator has actually introduced a bill that would precipitate those cuts. So, in a surprise move, the Democratic Speaker of the House, Michael Madigan, took it upon himself.

"...and to permit us to have a full and open discussion and debate on this critical question."

The measure failed with zero votes in support. Democrats all voted no. 

Democratic Representative Greg Harris of Chicago then advanced a series of measures that would keep up funding. 

"I think that the people who have children with epilepsy, the people who have children with autism, the people who have young children who need Early Intervention will be glad that we took the action to be sure that their needs are protected," Harris said.

But Republicans had no advance warning, and criticized the piecemeal budgeting approach.

Republicans, who are in the minority, choose the in-between: they all voted present. They complain Madigan's move wasn't transparent, because it hadn't gone through the committee process.

It's an early signal from Democrats that Rauner's cuts won't stand. The governor's spokesman called it a political stunt.

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