(The Center Square) – Illinois’ governor corrected an error in the $42 billion state budget lawmakers passed, but Republicans say he missed an opportunity to nix legislator pay raises and Democratic pork projects.
Democrats rushed a budget through in the final hours of regular session last month so fast they didn’t catch what Gov. J.B. Pritzker called as a “scrivener’s error,” omitting effective dates for the spending.
Pritzker issued an amendatory veto, fixing the omission.
State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, said the process is flawed and fails taxpayers. He also said the governor should have used his amendatory veto to cancel pay raises and pork projects.
“But yet again, the governor caved to the political class to help out the majority who passed a budget in the middle of the night that was so wrecked and damaged that we had to evidently come back to fix it,” Barickman said.
Pritzker on Wednesday dismissed the idea of using his amendatory veto power to nix lawmaker pay raises and pork projects.
“Renegotiating, changing substantive portions of the bill, was not something that anyone was planning to do,” Pritzker said. “This is just fixing the effective dates.”
The Senate concurred with the governor’s changes Tuesday. The House, after changing rules to allow remote voting, concurred Wednesday.
State Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville, said despite the new House leadership, it’s the same game in Springfield.
“We were told that it was a new day in Illinois,” Davidsmeyer said. “Well the new day has the same exact processes, the same people and you can even change the people, but if the process doesn’t change, it’s the same exact thing.”
After session, House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, who earlier this year replaced longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, responded that it was a successful session.
“Are there some things that we can be better at, absolutely, we certainly can,” Welch said. “And we’re going to continue to work toward being better each and every day.”
Republicans want proposed budgets to be posted up to 30 days in advance for thorough review, instead of what’s happened for years with last-minute filings they say leads to little oversight and error-prone spending plans.