Senate Leaves Without Vote On 'Grand Bargain' Meant To End State Budget Stalemate

Jan 27, 2017

Top leaders in the Illinois Senate continue to negotiate on a "grand bargain" to end the state's budget standoff.

Credit Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

They left the Capitol on an 11-day break Thursday without voting on the proposals.

Senate President John Cullerton, a Democrat, is negotiating with his Republican counterpart.

He told his colleagues: When the session resumes next month, come back ready to vote.

"The problems we face are not going to disappear. In fact, they're going to get more difficult every day,” Cullerton said.

The latest version of the deal includes higher income taxes, a property tax freeze, and changes to government pensions.

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno says the plan isn’t soup yet, but they’re staying in the kitchen.

"That is by no means a statement that we are backing off this effort,” Radogno said.

Various interests are marshaling against the plan, from big business to big labor.

That's led to widespread opposition from interests across the political spectrum; Illinois has gone a record 19 months without a full spending plan.

Radogno had promised a floor vote by the end of January. But Cullerton told members that, when the Senate returns Feb. 7, they should be "prepared to vote."