Tough Votes on Grand Bargain Could Come Wednesday

Feb 28, 2017

Illinois moved a few inches closer to having a budget Tuesday.

The state Senate began voting on its so-called “grand bargain.”

The deal has changes to business law long favored by Republicans, and a tax hike members of both parties have said is necessary to balance the state budget.

But none of THAT was called for a vote yet. Instead, senators passed relatively easier bills, like those meant to make state and local government more efficient.

After 20 months without a budget, Senate President John Cullerton says he thinks the harsh reality of Illinois’ deficit will help pass the more controversial parts of the deal.

“This is the classic compromise. So you get as much as you can and you don’t overestimate how much you think you’re entitled to."

One piece of the grand bargain failed so far: a measure to cut government pension benefits, though that could be brought back for another vote.

Cullerton said he'll call it again Wednesday and is confident that tough votes on an income tax increase and a local property tax freeze will occur.

Every component of the deal must pass or none of it can become law.