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AS FISCAL YEAR ENDS, SOME STATES WRESTLE TO FINALIZE BUDGETS
© Krantz News Service, June 21, 2015
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic leadership in the Illinois General Assembly have been unable to agree with on how to eliminate a $4 billion budget deficit.
After a futile Spring Session, Legislators returned to Springfield for a "continuous session" beginning on June 9. Democrats have passed a number of budget bills and sent them to Rauner, with more promised this week, according to The Associated Press.
"Democrats approved a plan that's over $3 billion short of anticipated revenue," AP reports. "They want Rauner to OK a tax increase, but Rauner first wants other reforms."
Lawmakers have until July 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year, to reach agreement on the budget. If the impasse remains, the governor has announced nearly $1 billion in budget savings in matters such as late payments to the state's vendors.
In Florida, legislators finally approved a $78.7-billion state budget and ended their special session on June 19, nearly two months after the regular session deadlocked over Medicaid expansion.
Meanwhile, in Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee called the legislature back into session on May 29 to deal with budget and transportation issues. An initial 30-day special session, costing taxpayers $108,000 in per diem pay and mileage reimbursements, had ended just the day before.
The state has several billion in additional tax revenues because of an improved economy. Republicans argue that this eliminates the need for any tax increases. Democrats disagree, so discussions on the revenue side of the budget continue.
In negotiations with Senate Republicans, Inslee and the Democrats have reportedly agreed to take a capital gains tax off the table as negotiators go line-by-line through a proposed budget. But in the Democratic-controlled House, negotiations have reportedly come to a standstill.
Inslee signed a two-year $5.1 billion transportation bill on June 11, but all parties are still eyeing a more comprehensive transportation package to tackle some of the state?s major transportation issues.