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After the Illinois House overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto and ended the budget stalemate Thursday, local legislators weighed in on the vote and what it means for the state.

Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, broke ranks with the GOP to vote against Rauner's veto. In a statement issued Thursday, she said she was voting to save small businesses, K-12 schools, Southern Illinois University and social service agencies.

“I understand that some may argue that a 1.2 percentage point tax increase is not fiscally conservative, but our current ‘government-by-court-order’ system is already costing the State of Illinois hundreds of millions of dollars more than what it takes in every month.

“SB 6 is a bipartisan balanced budget bill that restrains spending. Since the impasse began, I and many other leaders at the Capitol have acknowledged that a mix of cuts and revenues would be necessary to balance the budget. SB 6 contains nearly $3 billion in state spending cuts. It is balanced and it will be a key to stabilizing the fiscal ship of the State of Illinois. The financial consequences of failing to act on a balanced budget at this point in our history were just too severe. I believe our action today will save the State of Illinois,” Bryant said.

Rep. Dave Severin, R-Benton, voted against the spending plan and tax increase. In a statement issued Friday, he said his district office has been flooded with calls from families deciding whether to leave Illinois and that he believes the tax increase might be “the last straw for many.”

“I understand that things like our schools, universities, and healthcare facilities are in dire straits and that the threat of junk bond status loomed large over everyone’s head. What passed yesterday will help address those issues in the short term but also means that a 32 percent, permanent tax increase will be imposed on every Illinois family, and that is wrong. We already know that simply raising taxes without making significant structural changes doesn't work. It didn't work in 2011 and it won't work today,” Severin said.

After the Senate’s override vote Tuesday, Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg, released a statement denouncing the tax increase.

“Southern Illinois can’t afford another tax increase, our region is already suffering from an exodus of residents to Indiana, Kentucky, or Missouri or other points across the nation. I made a promise to my constituents, that I would oppose tax increases if they were not coupled with reforms to make Illinois more competitive,” Fowler said. “To lend my support for another tax increase without the assurances that it would be applied to the state’s $14.7 billion backlog, would be irresponsible. It is a shame that the legislative majorities backed away from any meaningful reforms and decided to instead proceed with a tax package which endangers our already fragile Illinois economy.”

Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo, voted against the tax increase and spending plan. He also issued a statement after Tuesday’s Senate vote.

“The residents of the 58th Senate District demand truth, hard work, and consistency from their elected officials. I have consistently stated that I will not support stand-alone tax increases that are not accompanied by reforms. Unfortunately, because the legislative majorities simply walked away from negotiations this past weekend, that is the choice before me,” Schimpf said. “We cannot ask Illinois’ taxpayers for more revenues without equal or greater amounts of economic reforms and budget cuts. A tax increase, at this time without the prerequisite reforms, will not solve our problems. Voting against this budget was not a decision I made lightly, as there are thousands of constituents that for months have demanded a fiscal plan to end the impasse. I am more than willing to work with the legislative majorities to obtain a real solution to the state’s economic predicament.”

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On Twitter: @janis_eschSI



Janis Esch is a reporter covering higher education.

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