SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, released the following statement Thursday:
“When the Legislature approved a bipartisan, balanced budget plan, I had hoped it would finally get Governor Rauner back to the negotiating table, so we could reach a compromise on elements of the deal I thought still needed work. While I saw the spending plan that cuts $3 billion in state bureaucracy as a good start, I couldn’t agree with the entire deal. Sadly, the governor wasn’t thinking about the wellbeing of the state, only about his own re-election campaign. His veto left me with the unfortunate choice of overriding his veto and supporting a deal I couldn’t entirely agree with, or follow the governor over the edge, dragging local families down with us.
“In the days between the initial vote and the motion to override, I received many requests to pass a balanced budget. Under the governor’s veto, Illinois would have continued on into a third year without any budget in place. This is flatly unacceptable. Our schools would be unable to open in the fall, Illinois colleges would continue to lose students, and elderly residents, survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse would be denied care. Local road projects would continue to be on hold, and the governor would continue to spend billions of dollars we don’t have, with no plan to pay for it.
“As I considered the best path forward given the governor’s refusal to enact a budget, I studied the budget package carefully to make sure the final version expands tax credits for middle-class and struggling families so people in our communities get some relief, and my push to stop a retirement tax and a tax on groceries was successful. I’m going to keep fighting for property tax relief for homeowners in the Quad Cities.
“I want to be very clear that this budget deal is not the deal I think we could have reached had the governor been willing to work in good faith. None of the Republicans or Democrats who supported this budget wanted higher taxes. Governor Rauner could have worked with us to go beyond the $3 billion in cuts we identified in our budget; together we could have finally made Chicago millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share, and closed the loopholes big corporations use to rig the system. But the governor wasn’t willing to make those tough choices, so I did.”