State legislators prepare for end of session

May 7, 2015

It's a busy time of year for the legislators, session is scheduled to end in a few weeks, on May 31st. But they're done meeting for this week.

Wondering what your state income tax rate will be next year?  If the state-funded autism program your son attends will still be around? Whether your community will be able to decide if it wants to limit unions' strength by becoming right-to-work? Whether Chicago or other towns will get a casino?

All of that and so much more remains unanswered.  State legislators continue to meet in small groups, debating these policies. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget calls for heavy spending cuts; but he says he's open to looking at taxes if his ideas on workers' compensation, right-to-work, and more get passed. Mid-week he made an unprecedented pitch to the Chicago City Council trying to persuade aldermen to get on board.

“I’m eager to be your partner in a Turnaround that benefits both Chicago and our great state. But to achieve that, we must be willing to work together.”

But Democrats, who control the General Assembly, spent a lot of time this week sending signals they're against Rauner's plans. 

The House met in a rare type of hearing focused on workers' comp for hours, injured workers told tales of heartbreak. Seemingly, a sign Democrats won't buy into Rauner's ideas of making the system more business friendly.  

And in a series of votes that are more symbolic than anything else, they handily voted down a measure mirroring Rauner's plan to whack human services funding.