A nearly $16 billion bill for public schools fell in the Illinois House late Tuesday, just after the Senate had passed it.
The bill was overwhelmingly voted down, by a 24-92 vote. Disagreement among the legislature-controlling Democrats derailed two bills their leaders introduced after disregarding Republican Governor Bruce Rauner's stopgap budget proposal in both chambers Tuesday. The Democrats proposed K-12 funding for fiscal 2017 starting July 1 amounting to 15.7 billion, $900 million more than last year. Chicago Public Schools would receive $475 million, almost half of the additional funding, including $270 million of low-income student aid and $205 million of pension contributions. "This is a Chicago bailout to the detriment of the rest of Illinois," Rep. Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove, said before the vote.
The failure to resolve the state's budget crisis risks further deterioration of the state's bond ratings and funding for schools, state universities, social services and other government entities. Suffering from the highest unemployment rate in the U.S. and residents leaving for other states, the government of the the fifth most populous state has been on auto-pilot appropriating money only sporadically. The legislature left without a budget plan for now, but Rauner is planning a two-day tour of the of the state to calling on lawmakers, specifically Democrats, to return to get this bill, among others, passed.
Illinois has operated without a budget for 11 months and is the only state in the nation without a spending plan for the current fiscal year. Information provided by the Associated Press and Medill News Service