The Illinois House of Representatives has completed passing budget bills to form the basis of its roughly $37 billion budget, but not without debate and histrionics.
State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) argued that numbers being pushed by Democrats were arbitrary.
“You cannot make this stuff up. I hope people are watching – this is appalling, quite frankly. Appalling, it sickens me. Vote no on everything,” she urged the chamber.
The budget includes more money for schools, veterans’ homes and prisons.
It includes increases of $25 million for early childhood education and $54 million for public school transportation.
Increased staffing in veterans homes would cost $9 million.
Another $9 million would go to the Department of Corrections to re-open two closed juvenile facilities. The Murphysboro site would become a facility for adult drunk driving offenders. The former youth prison in Joliet would be transformed into a center for treating prisoners with severe mental health problems.
Many Republicans complained that the spending plan was being crafted before a solid revenue estimate had been made. That will depend on whether the income tax hike is allowed to continue, as the governor and other Democratic leaders have called for. Under current law, it’s set to sunset at the end of the year.
State Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) responded to insults from Republicans.
“Your plan is to say, ‘OK, well here’s what we should do, we should have this slow-spending authority’ … education would be funded at 65 percent of the foundation level. It would decimate our schools,” he said.
The House passed a budget, with the bare minimum of votes needed on most bills. Now the Senate will have a say. The House is scheduled to come back into session at 3:30 p.m. Monday, the Senate at noon Monday.