Budgeting Illinois: New Year, New Budget, New Rivals

August 31st, 2017

Governor Bruce Rauner, joined by Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady, left, speaks at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago on Monday, July 24, 2017, about the SB 1 school funding bill. (Alexandra Wimley/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

After a historic stalemate, the state of Illinois finally has a budget for the new year, effective July 2017. This past July saw 71 lawmakers in Illinois legislature sweep Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of the Democrats’ budget plan under the rug.

With the new budget, Illinois will see a 32% tax increase and a 36 billion dollar spending plan.The tax increase will apply to both personal income tax, increasing from 3.75% to 4.95%, and corporate income tax, which will grow from 5.25% to 7%. The result? Five billion dollars in revenue for the state.

For college students across Illinois, schools will be reimbursed for covering costs.Grants that were being held from students can now be allocated appropriately.

For Saint Xavier, the redistribution of state funds amounts to a total of 6.4 million dollars headed back to the university after covering costs for grants, such as the Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant, which approximately 1,600 Saint Xavier Students rely on.

But while school districts and universities can breathe easy for the time being, tensions remain high in Springfield.As the animosity between Democrats and Republicans stands as strong as ever, feelings of resentment are rising within the Republicans’ own party.

The 71 votes that allowed the override of Rauner’s veto came from 61 Democrats and ten Republicans.The ten Republicans are now the targets of the rest of their party, several of whom claim the ten of the 71 turned their backs on their true party.

Rep. David McSweeney has even gone as far as saying the ten should be “ashamed” of themselves.In spite of their party’s anger, the ten remain adamant in their choice.

Rep. David Harris, one of the ten Republicans who voted to override the veto, says he feels no shame when, “…I look into a financial abyss, when I see the state imploding financially and I’m trying to do something to save it.”

And while Rep. Steven Anderson says that both choices were “bad options,” he believes he argued for the lesser of two evils.It’s not just the apparent fracture in the Republican party that’s drawing attention, though.

As 2018 approaches, so does the gubernatorial election.Many are questioning if Rauner will be able to secure the position for another four years.

Rauner’s ratings are at a meager 37%, while support for democratic candidates like J.B. Pritzker and Chris Kennedy continues to rise.

Even as support grows for some politicians and dwindles for others, many are saying it will be the effect of the new budget, and with it the tax hike, that will play a vital role in determining the outcome of next November’s election.

Although politicians still find themselves in disagreement over whether this budget is positive or not, one thing is for sure: Illinois has quite a ways to go before they can find themselves financially stable once again, but finally having a budget can help lead to that financial stability.

Cheyanne Daniels
News Editor

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