I wish I could proclaim, veni vidi vici, but passing a full and balanced state budget will require much more than trite comments. The challenges are serious, but every day we go without a budget we incur an additional $11 million in debt. Every hour is approximately $458,333 in additional debt on top of what we already owe. Since the first of the year, the state has slid more than three quarters of a BILLION dollars further into debt.
I have written a lot lately about the Senate’s Grand Bargain. Currently, this package of bills is not moving, but in a conversation with Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and others it is not officially dead and could be revived.
But even if it were to pass it would need to pass through the House before ultimately going to the Governor to be signed into law. And that seems like a long shot right now.
While we were in Springfield, the House was discussing HB0695. This is a bill filed by Rep. Martwick which would spend approximately $1.5 million to translate the Illinois General Assembly. I caught approximately one half hour of the debate. That means, while I was standing in gallery listening to the debate the state slid approximately $229,000 further into debt. But instead of debating a solution to that problem the House was debating a bill to spend an additional $1.5 million in new expenditures.
Our government should be accessible to all, including those that don’t speak English natively. But we must have a financed government and that means we need a balanced budget, which will require both houses to act. I hope the House stops wasting time and gets much more serious than Rep. Martwick’s suggestion on Tuesday, because every day that they don’t act is an $11 million greater burden for Illinois tax payers.