No budget, no reforms while lawmakers show little interest in compromising
Illinois budget crisis squeezing small businesses
Will Illinois’ budget standoff ever end? The eight-month gridlock in Springfield with the Republican Governor and Democrat-majorities in the Legislature has many wondering if an agreement on anything is even possible.
“Small business owners are watching the state and federal political scene very carefully,” said NFIB/Illinois State Director Kim Clarke Maisch. “Small businesses owners are proceeding with caution as the economy falters, Presidential politics are in full force and in Illinois, our fiscal state continues to be abysmal.”
Governor Bruce Rauner and the Democrat legislative leaders have been unable to reach not only a budget deal, but also any compromise on the Governor’s economic agenda which includes workers’ compensation reform, lawsuit reform and property tax cuts.
At a March 8 press conference, Gov. Rauner scolded House Speaker Mike Madigan for going on vacation while a budget deal still hasn’t been made. “Speaker Madigan right now is not doing his job,” Rauner said at the news conference.
At issue is the Governor’s TurnAround Agenda, which Speaker Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton refuse to move because it is strongly opposed by organized labor. However, many of the items in the Agenda are key to reviving Illinois’ economy and continue to be supported by NFIB members.
Last month, in an online poll, NFIB/Illinois members were clear when 88 percent said to tell the Governor to “keep on fighting” for his economic agenda.
“Our members recognize if we don’t turn this state around now, immediately, our only solution to digging out of this massive financial hole will be huge tax hikes ,” Maisch says.
Is the end near?
In January, Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno said, “it’s possible” the budget standoff could last years if legislators aren’t willing to compromise. The Illinois House of Representatives reconvenes on April 4 and the Senate will come back on April 5, after its last session on March 18.