Illinois Senate

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With only a week to go before the scheduled end of the spring session, Democrats in the Illinois Senate passed a new $37.3 billion budget package Tuesday that would raise the state income tax by $5 billion and cut some spending.

But it got no Republican support, and its future is uncertain.

The Senate voted on a different budget proposal last week, and it failed. So, Democrats tabled their negotiations with Republicans and went for a plan that matches the spending level of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s own budget proposal from earlier in the year.  

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

The Senate has approved a $36.5 billion budget that was initiated by minority Republicans. But it turned down authority to implement it.

The Democratic-controlled chamber voted 31-21 to approve the proposed outlay for the year that begins July 1.

The vote looked like a breakthrough after five months of wrangling over the so-called "grand bargain" budget compromise.

But it was quickly followed by a vote on authority to implement the budget. It failed by three votes, 27-24.

The Illinois State Senate has approved a bill that would raise the wages of workers caring for people with developmental disabilities.  

The provision would raise these health-care providers' pay to $15 per hour, currently at slightly above minimum wage. Sen. Sam McCann, R-Jacksonville, believes the measure is needed to keep good workers. 

Senate Democrats attempted a series of test votes on items in the so-called “grand bargain;” but Republicans refused to go along, saying more negotiation is needed to reach a deal they can support.

Senate President John Cullerton says his Democrats have gone as far as they can go in meeting Gov. Bruce Rauner’s non-budget demands and charged that Rauner and his team “don’t know how to govern.”

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

The Illinois budget stalemate has held up compensation for people who’ve been unjustly imprisoned. But a bipartisan group of state senators took a step toward fixing that Thursday.

James Kluppelberg spent nearly 25 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. But freedom presented its own challenges.

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