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Local News

Will County area state lawmakers split on budget package

Will County area state legislators were split along partisan lines over the budget the General Assembly passed over the weekend. Some of the revenue lawmakers authorized depends on federal aid as the nation deals with the economic fallout of the pandemic.

The budget passed largely without Republican support. GOP members blasted the budget, arguing it relied too much on borrowing.

State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, was one of the Republicans who said she couldn’t support the budget that the Democrat majority “pushed through” the General Assembly.

“The budget spends nearly $43 billion and relies heavily on massive borrowing and hope that the federal government will bail the state out with another stimulus package, which is no guarantee,” Rezin said in a statement.

Republicans also wanted the General Assembly to take more of an active role in managing the state’s reopening and have argued Gov. JB Pritzker has taken too much unilateral action. State Rep. Margo McDermed, R-Mokena, had already said she didn’t expect Democrats to challenge the governor’s authority.

“The people of Illinois deserve better,” McDermed said in a statement. “They deserve a reopening plan they have a voice in crafting. And if the Legislature couldn’t bring themselves to do that then they at the very least deserved to know where their legislators stand on the governor’s unilateral plan on record.”

State Rep. John Connor, D-Lockport,
acknowledged in a Facebook post that the budget relies on $6 billion in federal funding.
He called on the federal government to help Illinois, arguing the state is a “donor state,” meaning it sends more in tax money than it receives in aid.

“As Illinoisans and Americans, we are glad to support our federal government and we know how important our state is to the rest of the country,” Connor wrote.

State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Shorewood, said that even though the state’s budget priorities were altered due to the pandemic, she favored funding for public schools remaining stable for the next year.

Connor and other Democrats also touted other pieces of legislation passed, including expanding mail-in voting and allowing county governments to give residents “breathing room” on paying their property taxes.

Pritzker said in a statement the budget recognizes the “massive economic disruption” the state faces.

“This budget begins to address the financial upheaval we are facing, but more hard choices about how to spend and save these dollars wisely remain to be made,” he said.

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