With the spring session clock ticking down to its final weeks, State Representative Grant Wehrli is calling for swift progress to enact a responsible, full-year state budget. Rep. Wehrli (R-Naperville) said legislators must immediately focus on two priorities: setting a realistic revenue estimate, and supporting and encouraging the ongoing comprehensive budget negotiations in the Senate.
Rep. Wehrli this week joined a bi-partisan group of House members sending a letter of support and letter signed by 30 Republican and Democrat Representatives reads in part:
“We want to do what we were elected to do; govern the state. To do that we need to pass a budget. We understand a package from the Senate will be complex. Some parts may make members uncomfortable, and that’s not unusual in a negotiated deal. We ask the Senators from both parties to pass the best negotiated package they can, and then we will take up their work in the House.”
To move the budget process forward in the House, Rep. Wehrli has signed-on as chief co-sponsor of three resolutions seeking to set the needed revenue estimate. House Joint Resolution 49 would set the Fiscal Year 2018 revenue estimate based on the assessment of the non-partisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA). House Joint Resolution 50 would set the revenue estimate based on numbers from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB). And House Joint Resolution 51 would allow the General Assembly to combine both COGFA and GOMB numbers into an “inclusive estimate”.
“We’re down to our last three weeks of our scheduled spring session, and so far, Speaker Madigan has refused to allow the House to even complete the first step in our budget process: determining how much money we will have to spend. We must immediately adopt a realistic revenue estimate so we can then plan our spending accordingly,” Rep. Wehrli said. “We have offered three options to get the revenue estimate done, and the Speaker and his caucus still refuse to even talk about a revenue estimate. Instead, their focus remains solely on how much they want to spend.”
“We need to enact a responsible budget, and we can do that in the session weeks remaining if we first adopt a revenue estimate so we agree on how much we will have to spend, and then continue to build on the hard work the Senate has done on appropriations and reforms. Another temporary, partial spending plan is not an option. Our families and communities need stability, and it’s past time for us to get the job done,” Rep. Wehrli concluded.