Illinois House Republicans Introduce Balanced Budget Amendment

The Illinois Constitution requires a balanced state budget.

House Republicans say tricks and gimmicks are used to make it appear like the budget’s balanced – when in reality, Illinois ends its fiscal year with billions of dollars in unpaid bills.

As Chris Slaby reports, those members say they have a solution.

Republican members of the Illinois House propose a change to the state constitution.

They’ve introduced an amendment that would require Illinois’ Auditor General to make sure the state’s budget is balanced.

He’d review the numbers every year, and if he finds a mismatch between revenues and expenditures, lawmakers would stop receiving their state-paid salaries.

Representative Ed Sullivan is a Republican from Mundelein.

SULLIVAN: “If we have skin in the game, hopefully that’ll make us act.”

The amendment would also freeze all but a few state payments, like to state police.

Republicans were quick to point out that Illinois is $9 billion behind on its bills because of past budgets, but weren’t able to give details on how they’d pay down that backlog.

When asked how they’d balance the budget, they said they’ll just have to work until it’s fixed.

It’s doubtful their proposal will get far — Republicans are the super-minority party in both the Illinois House and Senate.

Amendments to the constitution needs support from three-fifths of the members in each chamber.

—Chris Slaby

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