State budget negotiations trumped by committee hearings

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SPRINGFIELD — This week’s state budget negotiations were trumped by several committee hearings. 

Democrats invited state agency directors to the capitol and asked them how they could make cuts to help balance the budget. 

Democrats say the Rauner Adminstration is not proposing cuts to help balance the state’s finances. 

All week agency director’s were asked how and where they can cut from their budgets to help our state, but Democrats say every department head did not have a clear answer. 

Republicans say it’s hard to come up with an answer when most state agencies are trying to make ends meet as best as they can without funding being restored. 

Senate Democrat leaders individually spoke out about how these committee hearing went and all their answers where the same. Democrats say not one agency had solutions or suggestions as to how to balance the budget. This move comes after Democrats say they were thrown a curve ball when GOP leaders pulled the plug on voting on the grand bargain last week. 

Republicans say while these hearings weren’t pointless, it’s only stalling the progress.

“It’s going to take a combination of things i don’t think anyone has said that you can cut your way out of this problem because most of us believe you cannot,” said Sen. Dave Syverson. 

“So we end this week five billion out of balance we are very hopeful that we might get some indication from these agency heads how we might go about trying to find some ways of repairing,” said Sen. Heather Steans. 

That five billion Democrats are referring to is based off the state’s report released by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. They project that FY2018 revenues are less than what Rauner’s budget estimates. That being said the number show Rauners proposed budget is unbalanced by about 5 billion. 

The good news both parties say the grand bargain is still on the table. Democrats say their waiting for a sign from republicans if they support the proposals they worked on together. 

Lawmakers come back to Springfield next week. 

 

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