Draft document suggests rank-and-file budget compromise | POLITICO

17 Nov

CHICAGO — Illinois’ top leaders may not be able to find common ground on a budget, but rank-and-file legislators did reach a working compromise last month that took on some of the main issues now dividing the state Legislature.A document obtained by POLITICO shows that a bicameral, bipartisan group of lawmakers had reached far more consensus over the state’s budget impasse than their leaders.That included putting on the table a personal and corporate income tax increase, a controversial proposal to consider taxing retirement income over $50,000 and “allow (but not require) all school districts to bargain over 3rd party contracting, layoffs, class size, school year & technology (like CPS).”The confidential draft also laid out the possibility of “substantial workers compensation reform” and property tax freezes — both items that Gov. Bruce Rauner has said are must-haves for him to approve more revenue. House Speaker Mike Madigan has repeatedly said the budget should be decided separate from such issues, and has cast the governor as holding “extreme” anti-union positions that his caucuses cannot support.The working group had started as a group of female legislators, then broadened to include male lawmakers.Ultimately, Democrats said they were willing to compromise on the issues outlined in the document, but Republicans raised it up the flagpole and the governor’s office pushed back, saying it did include sufficient reforms, two lawmakers tell POLITICO.Still, those involved said the group’s discussions indicate much more room for movement than what the state has seen so far on its budget impasse.“There is definitely enough to work with for both sides to reach a compromise,” Republican state Rep. Karen McConnaughay of St. Charles told POLITICO. “That really represents the desire on everybody’s part to have movement.” Both sides say the document reflects what both parties could live with moving forward, though neither side considered it ideal.“It’s not a take-it-or leave it plan. It’s here’s a possible path forward, we’ve got to end this,” said state Sen. Heather Steans,a Democrat who represents parts of Chicago. “We’re destroying our state right now. All of our constituents want us to end this. We’re saying: here’s what an agreement would look like, you don’t like this one, come up with one you do like. Come up with an agreement. This is rank and file saying they need to get to an agreement.”Steans and McConnaughay were careful to note their leaders had not signed off on the ideas.“All you’re looking at is a menu of ideas that a variety of rank-and-file legislators were discussing. The group got as far as it could in terms of identifying ideas without getting more ideas from their caucuses and their leaders,” McConnaughay said.View the document here:

Source: Draft document suggests rank-and-file budget compromise | POLITICO


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