General Assembly OKs new budget; Rauner says he'll sign it

Plan increases education funding and cuts spending on state bureaucracy, according to Senate president.

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The Illinois Senate approved the general revenue fund by a 56-2 vote, while the House passed it by a 97-18 margin.

(Illinois Farm Bureau file photo)

By Kay Shipman

State lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a $38 billion general revenue fund (GRF) state budget, ending the spring legislative session on schedule. Gov. Bruce Rauner said he will sign the spending plan for fiscal year 2019.

On a 56-2 vote, the Senate approved a $38.5 billion GRF budget Wednesday night, and the House followed Thursday afternoon with a 97-18 vote.

“The General Assembly pulling together a negotiated, bipartisan budget has not been done for several years,” stated Kevin Semlow, Illinois Farm Bureau director of state legislation. “Is it a perfect budget? No, but we do hope it will be the first step in rebuilding the state’s fiscal condition. The budget funds education, pensions and other operational costs.”

In a prepared statement, Rauner called the legislature’s action “a step in the right direction” and the “result of bipartisan effort and compromise.” However, the budget didn’t include “much-needed debt paydown and reforms that would reduce taxes, grow our economy, create jobs and raise family incomes,” Rauner added.

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Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said in a statement the budget accomplished two principle goals. The plan restores education funding that was cut in former Gov. Pat Quinn's budget and cut spending by a 5 percent across-the-board reduction in state bureaucracy.

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