Glory be and saints be praised, we have a state budget.
Ok, that might be a little over the top, but who among the disenchanted Illinois residents really paid any attention to what was going on in Springfield the past couple of weeks? Let’s face it. None of us thought the General Assembly would approve the budget by the May 31 deadline. We all thought the process would drag on and on — like it has the past 2 1/2 years.
Boy were we wrong.
Lawmakers whisked through a smoothly negotiated, $38.5 billion spending plan in the final days of their spring legislative session.
Somehow the budgeteers — including our own Sen. Chapin Rose — were able to knock out a budget without any of the dramatics and hysteria we’ve seen since Bruce Rauner became our state’s governor.
Rauner has — from the time he took the oath of office — insisted his turnaround agenda with its business-friendly structural changes was the only way to revive a pitiful state economy and slow or stop the exodus of industry and residents from the state.
The difference in the budget negotiations this year was that the governor, “started with a couple of really common-sense goals in mind — a full-year balanced budget and no new taxes,” a spokesman for his office said.
Up for re-election and facing a well-funded opponent, Rauner has already shown signs that he plans to campaign for re-election by opposing the tax increase foisted on him by the Legislature — even though the revenue generated by that increase helped lawmakers produce the blueprint he is expected to sign.
Rauner’s Democratic opponent, billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker, can be counted on to pummel Rauner on the, “historic 736 days without a budget,” the reminder he added to his statement on the General Assembly’s budget deal.
But for now, let’s all join hands — even with state residents north of Interstate 80 — and breathe a sigh of relief.
We have a state budget.