Budget fight
4:47 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Senators Spar On Budget Estimates

The Capitol
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

  The Illinois legislature's discussions over state spending are getting heated. On Friday, Lawmakers heard from agencies facing massive budget cuts.

Eight agency heads told Senators how painful it'd be to cut 20 percent from their operations. That figure is based on a projected billion-dollar shortfall next year, when the temporary income tax hike begins to sunset.

It could mean less funding to schools, fewer state police patrols, closure of prisons and mass layoffs.

Republicans, like Senator Dale Righter from Mattoon, charge Democrats are putting on a show to justify a permanent tax increase. Countering, Democratic Senator Dan Kotowski, from Park Ridge, says Republicans ought to offer their own budget legislation.

Kotowski:

"A suggestion is significantly different from a piece of legislation."

Righter:

"I filed a piece of legislation yesterday and all your members were against it, Mr. Kotowski."

Kotowski:

"The reason why you receive a salary is to file a bill, to file an appropriation bill."

Righter:

"I filed an appropriations bill yesterday to roll back to where we were and you said no. You and your party said no."

Kotowski:

"Thank you very much, we're going to call on the next person."

Despite Republican claims that Democrats are just trying to scare people, the agencies are basing their budgets on a bi-partisan revenue estimate.

Web extra: Full argument between Sen. Righter and Sen. Kotowski.