Republicans say budget ball is in Madigan’s court

Republican lawmakers Wednesday laid resolution of the state’s budget impasse squarely at the feet of House Speaker Michael Madigan.

At a Statehouse news conference as a 10-day special session was about to begin, Republican lawmakers said the House Democrats are the only group that has yet to lay out a spending and revenue plan to end the nearly two-year budget stalemate.

“Speaker Madigan and the House Democrats will need Republican votes if they want to end this impasse,” said House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs. “It is up to them. The time for just having vague, general discussions is over.”

Durkin was referring to the fact it now takes 71 votes in the House to pass bills, including a budget. Democrats hold 67 seats in the chamber.

Republicans have put out a $36 billion spending plan that includes $5 billion in cuts. They have also said they will consider a $5.4 billion tax increase plan approved by the Senate that is needed to balance the state’s budget. Republicans said their support of a revenue plan is contingent on a number of other bills passing the legislature, including workers compensation changes, pension reform, term limits and other items. Read more.