House Speaker and Governor Agree to Consider Workers' Compensation Reforms
Wednesday, May 10, 2017 | 735 | 0 | 0 min read
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan have vowed to work together to end the nation’s longest budget impasse by offsetting tax increases with spending reductions, including workers’ compensation reforms.
Madigan has appointed four of his House members to work on several issues contained in Rauner’s so-called “Turnaround Agenda,” which includes workers’ compensation reform and a property tax freeze, Tribune News Service reported.
Illinois lawmakers and the governor have not agreed on a budget since the fiscal 2015 spending plan expired June 30, 2015. The state now has a $130 billion unfunded pension liability, the worst credit rating of any state and a backlog of unpaid bills totaling $12.4 billion.
Madigan, a Democrat, and Rauner, a Republican, have been at loggerheads since the governor took office on Jan. 12, 2015. The two met in late April for the first time to discuss the state’s budget woes.
Rauner spokeswoman Eleni Demertzis said of the meeting: “For the first time in more than two years, Speaker Madigan today hinted that he may be willing to enact a truly balanced budget with changes that will help create jobs, properly fund our schools and lower property taxes. It’s too soon to tell if the speaker will ultimately agree to follow through, but the governor remains optimistic that all sides can work together to enact a balanced budget with changes that fix our broken system and restore balanced budgets for the long term through strong economic growth.”
Madigan issued a statement Monday saying Rauner should join lawmakers in putting the budget first.
“By showing the governor that the House Democrats stand ready to work with him in good faith, it is my hope that he will return to the negotiating table and work with us to end the budget crisis,” the speaker said, according to Tribune News Service.