Mark Gebhards, executive director of governmental affairs and commodities for the Illinois Farm Bureau.
If you follow the Illinois state capitol long enough, you’ll see just about everything. Just ask Mark Gebhards, executive director of governmental affairs and commodities for the Illinois Farm Bureau. He had never seen a July 4th special session – until Tuesday.
“We’re going into a long drought here of not having a state budget the way that we should have had it,” he said. “It’s really unprecedented, uncharted territory for the all the players involved.”
The Illinois Senate voted Tuesday to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s vetoes of both an income tax increase and a spending plan. Next, the state House must do the same for the budget to take effect. House Speaker Michael Madigan has scheduled a vote for Thursday afternoon.
The ongoing budget battle is resulting in some casualties among rank-and-file legislators.
“It has really worn on the legislators individually,” Gebhards said.
State Rep. Chad Hayes, R-Catlin, announced this week he is not seeking re-election. Illinois Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, is stepping down. And Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Buffalo Grove, is also resigning.
“So a lot of changes and a lot of emotions in play,” Gebhards said.
State Sen. Chuck Weaver, R-Peoria, has been in office since October of 2015, which means the state has not had a full budget during his tenure. But not even that could push him to support the Senate’s plan.
“A 32 percent tax increase, the highest we’ve ever had in this state,” he said. “That is painful, but yet on top of that, the reforms that were necessary, that the governor’s been talking about the last two years, have not passed.”
Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.