Illinois Budget Chief Testifies in Senate Committee

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Springfield- Scott Harry, the Illinois State Budget Director, took a beating in a Senate Committee Thursday afternoon. 

Harry testified in the Senate Appropriations Committee about Governor Rauner's FY 2018 proposed budget where Democrats picked apart pieces of his proposal, including his lack of attention to the state's $11.9 billion dollars in unpaid bills. "Why is the Governor not, like the Senate has in the grand bargain, saying we need to address this in the very beginning because 11 billion will very soon become 12,13,14. It's effecting our citizens, our venders" said Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign)

Senators also attacking the budget for a $4.5 billion dollar caveat, based on the Senate passing their Grand Bargain plan. "The gap there of about 4.6 billion that reads working together on grand bargain Is that the filler there? The way to balance the budget is with this grand bargain?" said Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago).

"He makes a lot of assumptions the Governor he assumes that the Grand Bargain will pass." added Senator Michael Hastings (D-Frankfort)

Republicans came to the defense of Governor Rauner's proposed budget. "Balancing budgets is hard, it's just hard, there isn't a person in this building who has clean hands when it comes to balancing budgets, not one." said Senator Dale Righter, (R-Mattoon) 

While scolding the Democrats for their behavior during the committee. "Are we talking about the proposed budget, or the grand bargain, what is unhelpful is deliberate attempts to obfuscate and further confuse the matter by deliberately weaving in and out of  the matter." said Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Champaign).

Harry defended the Grand Bargain caveat, by expressing the importance of Governor's Rauner Unbalanced Budget Response Act, a bill that would give Governor Rauner authority to make spending cuts. This act would go in effect if the Grand Bargain is not passed. "The Governor has requested authority from the unbalanced budget response act to balance the  budget. If the Governor is given that authority to make reductions the state will be in a much better spot than letting the status qua continue and having courts and descent decrees dictate spending." said Harry.

Governor Rauner proposed a similar measure last year.

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