Pritzker sends budget back for proper effective date

(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued an amendatory veto of the state’s spending plan lawmakers passed just two weeks ago because it doesn’t have the proper effective date.

In a message to the Illinois Senate, Pritzker said he’s returning Senate Bill 2800 “with specific recommendations for change so that the various sets of appropriations included in the bill will take effect at the necessary time.”

“It is evident that the errors and omissions in the effective date provision of Senate Bill 2800 were inadvertent as all appropriations bills traditionally have effective dates that align with the language of the appropriations,” Pritzker said in his veto letter. “I believe that the legislative intent for Senate Bill 2800 was for new appropriations for Fiscal Year 2022 to have a July 1, 2021 effective date and for supplemental appropriations for Fiscal Year 2021 to have an immediate effective date. Without this amendatory veto, many of the appropriations in the bill would not take effect until June 1, 2022, eleven months into Fiscal Year 2022.”

Last week, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle suggested the budget would have to be fixed, and that was a symptom of how quickly the budget was revealed and then passed.

Errors are likely when the budget process is behind closed doors with one party looking it over, said state Sen. Steve McClure, R-Springfield.

“When you don’t have the give and take, and when you don’t have both [party’s] staffs analyzing things, mistakes happen,” McClure said.

State Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, agreed that lawmakers need to collaborate better.

“We have to make sure that we have a process where we don’t have a budget that is filed last-minute where we’re spending billions of dollars with very little time for members to review,” Ford said.

Ford advocates for a full week of review to allow for amendments before final passage.

“I think that it’s important that we as legislators step up and we talk to the Speaker [of the House] and the [Senate] President and say ‘look, we want to make sure that rank-and-file members, people that are not on the budget team, really get an opportunity to review these budgets before they are voted on.”

Pritzker changed the affected article in the amendatory veto he sent back to the Senate.

“With this change, Senate Bill 2800 will have my approval,” Pritzker said. “I respectfully request your concurrence.”

It’s unclear when lawmakers will take up the amendatory veto. Veto session is typically in November, but the budget year begins July 1. However, lawmakers are back in Springfield this week looking at a possible energy bill.

The Senate is in Tuesday and the House is in Wednesday.

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