Illinois Democrats have made Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget proposal into legislation.
The bills’ sponsor, House Majority Leader Greg Harris, has filed the budget for fiscal year 2020, an infrastructure bill that largely calls for the spending proposed in previous years, and supplemental spending for the current year that ends this summer. He said in a statement that the proposed spending “reflects Democrats’ commitment to protecting our most critical services, like health care, education, and services for our veterans, seniors and our most vulnerable.”
Included in the spending is itemized infrastructure projects called "member initiatives" dating back to Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration.
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, state Rep. Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, said he’s not seeing anything new in the budget bills.
“I just see new income coming from things that aren’t legal,” he said, referring to Pritzker's plan to tax sports gambling and recreational marijuana. “There’s no reforms and the pension spending is a concern.”
Halbrook said he hopes that Democrats would be willing to work with Republicans in enacting some reforms.
The bills include tens of millions of dollars in spending for the current fiscal year as well.
One of the larger bills goes to the Illinois State Board of Education and its pension funds for $17 billion in total spending, more than a quarter of that going to teacher pensions.