July 6 (UPI) — The Illinois legislature on Thursday voted to override the governor and usher in a tax hike and balance the budget — something the state hasn’t been able to do in more than two years.
A bipartisan Illinois House voted 72-41 to supersede Gov. Bruce Rauner, who had vetoed the measures — fearing they would only lead to more tax increases in the near future.
Thursday’s vote marked the first time since 2015 that the state passed a measure to balance the budget.
“Republicans and Democrats stood together to enact a bipartisan balanced budget and end a destructive 736-day impasse,” Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan said. “The people in this chamber did not do what was easy today. But we did what was right for the future of our state.”
“Today was another step in Illinois’ never-ending tragic trail of tax hikes,” Rauner countered in a Facebook post. “Madigan’s 32 percent permanent income tax increase will force another tax hike in the near future. His tax-and-spend plan is not balanced, does not cut enough spending or pay down enough debt, and does not help grow jobs or restore confidence in government.”
A number of Republicans and Democrats both voted in favor of — and against — the override.
“I believe it’s a historic day because it’s a day where we decide the fate of our state,” Republican Rep. Steve Andersson said. “Do we want to save it? Or do we want to let it go into meltdown?”
“What we do know for sure is that this budget is going to hurt people,” Republican Rep. David McSweeney said. “We’ve all heard from our constituents. They’re wondering how they’re going to pay their high property taxes. They’re wondering how they’re going to pay their living expenses because we’re raising their income tax rate by 32 percent. And what do we get? Nothing.”
“It proves how desperately we need real property tax relief and term limits,” Rauner added. “Now more than ever, the people of Illinois must fight for change that will help us create a brighter future.”
The vote followed a lockdown earlier Thursday at the Springfield, Ill., State Capitol, where authorities said a woman threw some type of powder at the offices of the governor and lieutenant governor, as well as the House gallery.
Authorities arrested the woman and analyzed the powdery substance, which tested negative for biological agents. No one was hurt.