Illinois Republicans help override Rauner’s veto, sealing budget deal

In an extraordinary rebuke to GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner, Illinois House Republicans joined the Democratic majority to override the governor’s veto of a $36 billion budget.

Thursday’s action ends a stalemate that has stretched two years, causing the state to build up a $15 billion backlog and teeter on the edge of an unprecedented "junk" bond rating downgrade.

The passage means the state has a budget for the first time since 2015 — when Rauner first took office.

No other state in the union had gone this long without an operating budget.

The agreed-upon budget package increases the state personal income tax from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent and the corporate income tax from 5.25 percent to 7 percent.

The package lacks policy changes that Rauner had pushed as part of any spending plan — a demand that was at the core of a protracted political fight that has stalled progress in the state.

The voting capped an intense day at the Illinois Capitol, which was on lockdown after a security incident. That delayed the voting by two hours.

GOP Floor Leader Steven Andersson said he didn’t want to support a tax increase but he also did not want to oversee the destruction of his district.

"For those of you who say there’s a better option, do you have the votes? No. You do not have the votes!" Andersson said. He said the choice is between saving the state "or let it melt down."

The budget package needed 71 votes to override the governor’s veto. The most controversial of the budget bills, a move to hike the state’s income tax, passed with Republican support — and with no votes to spare.

Rep. Tom Morrison, a Republican, said an income tax increase would only cause more Illinois residents to leave the state.

"We’re squeezing so hard, we’re squeezing them out, we’re reducing our base of taxpayers,” he said.

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