An exchange between a former Illinois governor and a current state representative highlighted political divides at last night’s forum on the state budget. Four Republican state representatives were among about 75 people in attendance at the Illinois Issues budget forum in Champaign.
One of them, Reggie Phillips of Charleston, attempted to make the case to former governor Jim Edgar that pro-business reforms are needed in the state as part of any budget agreement.
“I want our universities to grow, and I want our businesses to stay. So, I’m willing to work for a balanced state budget, but there has to have that, somewhere a combination of the two, wouldn’t you say?”
Edgar said no.
“I appreciate the concern about workers comp. But let me tell you, not having a budget the last two years has done more damage to your hometown and my hometown than anything workers comp.”
Illinois has gone more than 22 months without a state budget. The state senate tried, and failed again Wednesday to pass the so-called budget ‘grand bargain.’