Gov. Bruce Rauner is proposing what he calls a balanced budget. But expected spending outstrips revenue by at least $4 billion. And it could be more.
Rauner gave his third budget address Wednesday amid a nearly two-year budget stalemate.
"We propose a record level of funding for schools we supported on K-11 schools at an unprecedented level," Rauner said.
The first-term governor outlined a plan he said would spend $37 billion. But revenue is only expected to come in at $33 billion.
Rauner budget director Scott Harry says lawmakers can help fill the gap by agreeing to unspecified spending cuts, tax increases and economic growth.
"I'm encouraged about the things I hear in higher education, encouraged about K-12, all those things take the money that he's talking about," Rep. Dan Brady (R-Bloomington) said.
But the plan actually would spend $39 billion unless Rauner is able to make changes he seeks to pension costs, health insurance and more. Much of those cuts need legislative approval.
As a result, the majority part in the Illinois General Assembly was highly critical.
Democrats putting up signs that read "Rauner budget fake news. And Rauner budget = alternative facts."
Here's comptroller Susana Mendoza:
"The Governor for the third year in a row shirked his constitutional duty today by presenting an unbalanced budget that spends $5 billion more than it takes in. It feels good to pledge a 10 percent increase in college scholarships after proposing a 30 percent cut in previous years to higher education; or to pledge more money for childcare for working parents; or mental health and reentry programs for offenders. But once again the Governor failed to explain how he would pay for this additional spending. It's disingenuous to dangle the promise of restored social service programming without making the hard decisions required to fund these critical programs. It's a responsibility that comes with being Governor. I urge him to shift gears and work constructively with the General Assembly now to quickly pass a balanced budget," Mendoza wrote.
"(It's) Just like he did this year. He introduced a budget with no numbers. So let's be very clear that all these (are) 'alternative facts' that are floating around here. It's unacceptable and people are tired and sick of it," Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) said.
"When he says that the main reason that job creators aren't moving to Illinois is because we don't have term limits, (I'm) like, really? That's what our problem is? Governor, we've been two years without a budget!" said Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria).
In the official response, Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), the lead budget negotiator for the Democratic caucus said Rauner uses children and the disabled as negotiating tools.
Harris went on to say the idea that Illinois must continue on with reforms enacted by Rauner during his two years as state chief is "reckless".
"We can't accept further delay. We can't kick the can down the road. And, unlike the governor, we don't believe we can stay the course when that course is not working. Things we can do to help create jobs and lift up the middle class include reforming the corporate tax code to help small employers and start ups by reducing the corporate tax rate by 50% and cracking down on large corporations that currently pay nothing," Harris said.
He maintains that majority democrats want to increase the earned income tax credit and raise the minimum wage, plus add a surcharge penalty for the wealthy - those making a million dollars a year or more, with that money going to fund education.