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State Senate Adjourns Monday Without Budget Vote

July 4, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – The Illinois Senate has adjourned without taking action on House-approved legislation to break the nation’s longest budget standoff since the Great Depression.

The Legislature plans to return Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Chicago Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan has scheduled a meeting of the four legislative leaders for the same time. Republicans were no-shows at the one he had Monday afternoon with Democratic Senate President John Cullerton of Chicago.

The House voted overwhelmingly Sunday night for a $36 billion spending plan fueled by a $5 billion increase in income taxes. The plans are not dissimilar from ones the Senate OK’d in May. The Senate needs to concur in House changes.

Monday was the third day of the fiscal year. Illinois has been without a budget since 2015 because of disagreements with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Meanwhile, two bond house has chimed in with a positive note on Illinois’ financial outlook.

S&P Global Ratings issued a notice Monday that a House vote to raise $5 billion through an income-tax increase “represents a meaningful step toward the enactment of a comprehensive budget.”

Illinois has a $6.2 billion deficit and backlogged bills total $14.7 billion. The major credit agencies had warned of a downgrade to “junk” status without swift action.

S&P cautioned that even with a budget “it’s likely that Illinois’ finances would remain strained and vulnerable to unanticipated economic stresses.”

Fitch Ratings issued a statement Monday noting the steps legislators have taken, including a Sunday House vote to raise the income tax rate by 32 percent. It did not change the state’s rating, saying it will continue to “monitor the developments.”

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