Why do you think it has been so difficult for Springfield to get a balanced budget passed and signed?

Budget

Elected officials are too concerned with re-election. As such, they are too willing to cut taxes, and too unwilling to cut services. No one wants to step up and make necessary decisions if they're going to be unpopular.

Illinois budgets, whether balanced or not, had been passed and signed through 2014. The election of Governor Rauner in 2014 established a set of conditions in which the governor's goals were out of alignment with those of the legislature. Rauner, thinking as may be expected from the head of a private equity firm, attempted to apply principles of successful private equity dealing in the realm of public service. Unfortunately, public service entities like the state of Illinois cannot divest themselves of financial loss centers or engage in tactics to drastically lower the pay of public servants.

Illinois budgets, whether balanced or not, had been passed and signed through 2014. The election of Governor Rauner in 2014 established a set of conditions in which the governor's goals were out of alignment with those of the legislature. Rauner, thinking as may be expected from the head of a private equity firm, attempted to apply principles of successful private equity dealing in the realm of public service. Unfortunately, public service entities like the state of Illinois cannot divest themselves of financial loss centers or engage in tactics to drastically lower the pay of public servants.

We have a governor who is not interested in working with both Republicans AND Democrats for the sake of the Illinois residents. The budget is the one thing that I feel must be a TOP priority to be voted upon each time it comes to the floor - no matter what party line you hold. I understand that there are technicalities that one could say was the reason that the budget wasn't passed for YEARS. But at the end of the day, it comes to EGOS in our government. I will not be afraid to speak with, and even listen to Republicans if it means that we pass a budget that benefits all Illinois residents. We need more collaboration, more bi-partisanship.

We have a lot of needs to be met in our state and not enough revenues coming to meet our current needs and priorities which must be addressed.

We have a governor who is not interested in working with both Republicans AND Democrats for the sake of the Illinois residents. The budget is the one thing that I feel must be a TOP priority to be voted upon each time it comes to the floor - no matter what party line you hold. I understand that there are technicalities that one could say was the reason that the budget wasn't passed for YEARS. But at the end of the day, it comes to EGOS in our government. I will not be afraid to speak with, and even listen to Republicans if it means that we pass a budget that benefits all Illinois residents. We need more collaboration, more bi-partisanship.

The problem isn't income; the problem is spending. State revenues increase from year to year, but the level of spending increases more dramatically. The current Speaker of the House refuses to tighten the State's belt, so he can give more money away and gain more political traction. As he once said, "My caucus is here to spend." With that kind of mission, nothing will get done until he is no longer Speaker.

The problem isn't income; the problem is spending. State revenues increase from year to year, but the level of spending increases more dramatically. The current Speaker of the House refuses to tighten the State's belt, so he can give more money away and gain more political traction. As he once said, "My caucus is here to spend." With that kind of mission, nothing will get done until he is no longer Speaker.

This budget impasse has been brewing for years and no one wants to accept their share of the responsibility for their part of the impasse. Additionally, as the income tax rate was increased from 3% up to 5% and then later reduced to 3.75%, few if any departments of State government adjusted their spending habits back down to the lower levels of tax receipts. State government has a very difficult time reigning in spending once they have received more money earlier.

It has been difficult to get a balanced budget passed because too many members of Illinois' entrenched political class---Democrats and Republicans alike---are more interested in extending their political career, and deriving the financial and other benefits that flow from it, than they are improving the lives of Illinois' citizens. As a result, special interests with campaign cash---most notably powerful public-sector unions---control the budgeting process. Those interests, and the politicians they support, are thus content to "kick the can down the road" by spending more money than we have and taxing or borrowing as much as they can to make up the difference. We need a new class of citizen legislators who are principled fiscal conservatives not tied to or reliant on special interests to pass truly balanced budgets by prioritizing spending. If I were to choose two words to summarize the root causes, they would be "greed and selfishness."

Speaker Madigan and the Democratic majority in Springfield have played a major role in keeping this state without a balanced budget, along with ineffective Republican leadership. Our most recent budget included a 32% tax increase without any reforms and still isn't fully balanced. We need true, principled leadership and representation in Springfield dedicated to passing fully-funded budgets.

The Legislature has found plenty of time to enact legislation creating a state holiday recognizing President Obama but somehow there is no time to solve the budget crisis. The priorities of the political elite in Springfield are not at all the priorities of the vast majority of Illinois residents. It is easier for career politicians to vote for tax increases than it is for them to make the tough choices when it comes to cutting the state budget. The end result of this insanity is we are spending ourselves into insolvency

A budget that is sustainable cannot be balanced by only adding revenue. Removing some expense is necessary. No one is willing to make the hard decisions to determine which areas need to cut or eliminated

Speaker Madigan and the Democratic majority in Springfield have played a major role in keeping this state without a balanced budget, along with ineffective Republican leadership. Our most recent budget included a 32% tax increase without any reforms and still isn't fully balanced. We need true, principled leadership and representation in Springfield dedicated to passing fully-funded budgets.

There is a significant difference in opinions and priorities between Republican and Democrat politicians in Springfield. I believe that the Republicans are trying their best to address Illinois' true spending priorities within a realistic projected income stream while the Democrats use the budget to benefit themselves and their friends. It's very difficult to find common ground when one side is not willing to honestly acknowledge our financial problems by making the hard choices necessary and then passing a truly balanced budget.

There are many entrenched politicians in Springfield who are beholden to the status quo in Illinois. Thus we find that every year our budget situation remains the same or gets worse. We need more fresh sets of eyes and hearts who will recognize the problem and have the heart to see to it that solutions are found. Kicking the can down the road or raising taxes that hurt the economy are short term fixes that allow politicians to pass through the latest election cycle.

The reason why the legislature cannot pass a balanced budget is because of the Democrat majority's long standing failure to "live within their means" or make substantial changes to the status quo. As evidenced by our long-standing bill backlog, the state's inability to enact a balanced budget extends well beyond the current dynamic between this Administration and the General Assembly. In fact, even the spending plan passed this past summer with the income tax hike is out-of-balance.

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The state budget has not been balanced for years because politicians refuse to change and aren't forced to do so. While our state constitution has a requirement that tax expenditures shall not exceed tax revenues, there is no actual language or provision that enforces that provision, so politicians keep on spending. At the same time, our state does not have term limits and the legislative district maps are drawn by politicians, so as to protect the same incumbents who refuse to change. The system is designed to resist change and protect the status quo. That's wrong and that's why I'm running for State Representative.

Amassing and maintaining power have been the priorities for Illinois' elected officials. A balanced budget requires a willingness to reach across the aisle and do what's right for Illinois. That involves compromise and trust in the integrity of political adversaries. It is imperative that policy makers make every effort to run the government more efficiently. This includes reduction of outsourcing to private for-profit companies. At a minimum, we should be diligent in our efforts to review outsourced services to prevent waste.

My belief in term limits touches on the difficulties in Springfield. Term limits would create a sense of urgency that our legislators lack. Our legislators will not be trying to buy votes with favors, because they will be ineligible as candidates. Instead, candidates will campaign on issues that are not only important to their districts but to the greater community. We will be free from Illinois machine politics as we know it. Illinois legislators will have greater freedom to vote according to conscience and district needs.

The current powers that be have very distinct visions for how to accomplish a balanced budget, and through the process have found comfort in blaming each other, i.e. Madigan vs. Rauner. Subsequently, our representatives have also found it easy to use the blame game and continue to be re-elected.

Springfield's inability to pass a balanced budget has caused irreparable harm to Illinois' vital social service providers and has diminished the public's confidence in our elected officials. Any person running to become a member of Illinois' general assembly must prioritize balancing the state's budget because of its far-reaching implications on every component on public policy.

There are many reasons why Springfield has been unable to complete its most basic function. The hyper-polarization of our politics, a reality that is compounded by the lack of competitive districts across the State, is one of them. Our electoral process discourages members of either party to work across the aisle. We won't be able to achieve a compromise on a balanced budget when members of the general assembly are too busy running to the ideological extremes. We can build consensus solutions, but it is going to require electing bipartisan problem solvers who are unafraid of challenging the status quo.

Another reason for the impasse is that Springfield is run by a handful of partisan power brokers who purchase votes and contributions by making promises that can only be paid with ever increasing tax rates on a state bleeding population. We do not have a balanced budget because we haven't elected enough reform minded leaders willing to stand up to Springfield as usual.

Chicago Democratic politics have ruled Illinois for 45 years. Mike Madigan's machine politics have been implemented by the state of Illinois to benefit himself and his cronies who have helped him build his bureaucratic empire. We have been seeing and feeling the negative implications for the past few years of what one party rule, for far too long, has done to Illinois. In East-Central Illinois, we work as a team to come to agreements that benefit everyone not just one interest/group/organization that holds the majority of the money or power.

I think that it has been difficult for Springfield to get a balanced budget because of the refusal to address the real issue of many years of mismanagement. We continue to tax and spend and do very little to fix or make the changes needed to balance the budget. We have made promises within the pension system that have become a problem because the money is not there to pay what was promised. The system needs to be completely overhauled to make it realistic for a balanced budget to be passed.

The atmosphere in Springfield is controlled by bureaucrats and lobbyist. We have been governed by a one-party system controlled by Mike Madigan and the Chicago Democrats since 1983. The reality of our failed system has finally exposed the Ponzi scheme known as government pensions. The issue with the current system is the way our districts in Illinois have been gerrymandered to keep the big government, progressive Democrats in office. Currently legislators are owned by powerful unions that take money from their employees to keep the favors coming by padding the pockets of their political counterparts.

Career politicians simply do not have the stomach to balance the budget. They know that in order to pass a balanced budget, there is going to have be reform. It is easier to cobble together spending agreements than it is to craft a real budget. The current process allows state spending to continue and allows career politicians to continue to appease special interest groups and no one has to make any tough decisions. They kick the problems down the road. It is easier for them to raise taxes than it is to solve the real budget problems.

I have led professional organizations that had difficulty time settling on a budget, and there were only 7 of us and we all liked and respected each other. Add a few hundred more egos to the mix; take away the empathy and respect, and you have the state General Assembly. In IL we have a unique dynamic in that Speaker Madigan has controlled the Illinois House for 36 years to our detriment. Under his tutelage, the years of Democrat-passed unbalanced budgets, tax increases, and refusals to negotiate or compromise has cost each one of us time and money.

For decades, Springfield politicians have kicked the can down the road, choosing to protect the status quo rather than make meaningful, and sometimes tough, changes to state government. Our spending and pension debt are on autopilot, while our tax base dwindles and lawmakers refuse to enact the job-creating reforms that are essential to turning our state around. From the lack of term limits, redistricting reform, or a balanced budget requirement, the whole system is designed to protect the political class at the expense of Illinois taxpayers. There is not much accountability, and it's difficult to make meaningful change when elections are typically preordained. Essentially, Springfield has been rigged against the taxpayers, limiting their voices in state government.

The inability to get a balanced budget passed is because career politicians in Illinois do not understand the problem of scarcity of resources and how it impacts their own self-interests. The first lesson in economics is that we are never going to have enough resources to do everything we want to do no matter how badly we want to do them. Many elected officials in Illinois do not understand this or don't care and instead of prioritizing those that are in most need they prioritize all of their self-interests that help them get re-elected. Then they lament that we cannot possibly cut programs that serve the most vulnerable. That is backwards. This happens with our current State Representative Michelle Mussman. She votes to appropriate all of the programs she wants to support, but then she does not vote to fund them. This is a recipe for disaster. I intend to go to Springfield to prioritize our needs over my opponent's self-interests.

Fundamentally, there was not a desire by the Governor to negotiate and compromise on revenue and expenses. The Governor's insistence on his Turn-around plan held the budget hostage so there could be no discussion on how to fund the actual budget.

There is a disconnect between the duty of our representatives to advocate for the interests of all of their constituents, run a functioning government, and their political and institutional affiliations. Unfortunately, it seems that most in Springfield have focused on the latter and turned a blind eye to our budgetary downward spiral. On the other hand, a drastic guillotine approach of cruel and unnecessary cuts is not a sensible fix either. When recently downgrading Illinois' creditworthiness, investment rating agencies identified "unrelenting political brinksmanship" and "fruitless negotiations and partisan wrangling" as main drivers of the risk that Springfield will no longer be able to pay its debts. This rings true to me from a practical and personal standpoint. Ultimately, not everyone will nor can always get their way; negotiation and compromise are key to a legislator's success and a government's operation. As the youngest of my siblings, I learned this the hard way.

The reasoning is relatively simple - Springfield has become a hyper partisan environment where neither party is willing to make tough decisions. The reality is that everyone in Springfield privately admitted that we needed more revenue, but no one was willing to actually take the hard vote to make that happen. Everyone looks at the next election and how they can either protect themselves or punish their opponents. This has led to bad policy making and bad budgeting from both sides of the aisle. The passage of the tax increase and balanced budget this past summer was an important step towards reaching financial stability, but the state still has a large hole it must dig its way out of.

It has been difficult to pass a balanced budget because of lack of adequate and stable revenue sources and the historical failure to address growing pension obligations. It is important to remember that Illinois state spending per capita is among the lowest in the nation. Governor Rauner's resistance to exploring common-sense revenue solutions, such as a graduated income tax, or even the obvious need, in the absence of a graduated income tax, to make the 5% income tax rate permanent has significantly contributed to the lack of a balanced budget.

There has been a significant gap between spending and revenue with a large amount of unpaid bills accumulating. It was is necessary to increase revenue while moderating spending. Both these actions are difficult to accomplish legislatively for they entail taking unpopular positions. In addition, there has been significant friction between Legislative Leaders and the Executive branch caused by significant policy differences as well as a failure/unwillingness to compromise

First, the size of the state's debt is a huge obstacle to reaching a balanced budget. But even this can be overcome with a well thought out, long-term approach.

The main obstacle to this is the role that huge amounts of money, controlled by wealthy people like Gov. Rauner now plays in our political system. This was unleashed by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United and it's a deterrent to compromise in many ways. After Republican and Democratic senate leaders worked hard to forge a budget compromise that had bi-partisan support, Gov. Rauner kept it from passing by keeping all senate Republicans from supporting it. The inference was that if they did, he would either withhold necessary campaign money from his substantial war chest or fund primary challengers to defeat them. When my own GOP Representative voted to override the governor's veto of the budget, a heavily financed right-wing group headed by Dan Proft found a candidate to run against him. The wielding of large amounts of money discourages compromise and chases reasonable people out the legislature.

The state has failed to balance its budget since at least 1991. There are many reasons for this, including politics and weighing the different challenges and needs of the diverse geographic regions across the state. Historically, both parties have also been unwilling to face and close the longstanding structural deficit through revenue enhancements and modification of the taxing structure. As a result, year after year the state has cut services and borrowed to keep the government running.

Fixing this will require rebuilding a bipartisan coalition of new leaders who are not adverse to changing the current system. Even though we have the fifth-largest gross domestic product of any state, our spending on state services as a percent of GDP is 31st in the nation. This is why we have problems at DCFS (as reported by the Tribune), have lost other critical services and lack resources to effectively regulate cost drivers like Medicaid and workers compensation. It's also resulted in the pension shortfall, as the state has borrowed from its pension liabilities to make up the deficit. And most egregious, it has stolen from our children, with the state's funding of education falling from nearly 50 percent to less than 30 percent.

I believe that the difficulty in passing a budget had to do with a lack of cooperation from the Governor. I saw Senate President Cullerton and Senator Radogno working together to come up with a budget solution and the Governor just refused to work with anyone. It showed you that the Governor was really disconnected with Illinoisans. We have to stop choosing political agendas over the willingness to negotiate and compromise.

The political climate in Springfield does not lend itself to passing a truly balanced budget. The presence of heavily gerrymandered districts has locked in a certain level of political polarization, which is directly linked to the budgetary dysfunction in recent years. No one has to campaign for swing voters. For members of both caucuses, the solutions that would begin to address the crisis are unpalatable to some of the interest groups and constituencies that carry influence. For Democrats, cuts to state programs, regardless of how incidental they may be (an example being the governor's $4.5 million in proposed cuts to DPH grant programs in 2015) are met with ferocious opposition and counterintuitive claims that the budget cuts will actually cost the state more money in the long run. Similarly, many Republicans fear political fallout from cuts and are willing to acquiesce to raising taxes, even without passing substantive reforms to prevent future calamities.

Special interest groups

The governor wanted to cut services essential to many representative districts especially in the northern parts of the State including but not limited to childcare.

I would imagine that reaching agreement on a budget is always difficult, but at a time when we are faced with increasing costs, the largest being the unfunded pension liability (creating a huge expense that other states are not faced with when balancing their budgets) and decreasing revenues it has become more difficult than usual. Like just about everyone else I have become frustrated by the seemingly never-ending conflict that was exacerbated by two seemingly immovable objects.

On one side the is the too powerful Speaker of the House (Speaker Michael Madigan) who has coalesced power to a degree that is virtually unrivaled in the history of our country (and which is based largely upon what I see as the most destructive force in politics today, the ability for special interests on all sides to control the political process through unrestricted campaign funding). On the other side a Governor that had campaigned on a promise of a seriously flawed "Turnaround Agenda" badly overplayed his hand, alienating both sides of the aisle and has little to show by way of actual accomplishments. Governor Rauner had attempted to hold the budget hostage unless packaged with his legislative wish-list.

The costs of the delay were disastrous, with increased borrowing costs, flirting with junk bond status, high late fees to vendors, and most importantly the lack of funding to social service agencies. By the middle of 2017 over 70% of the social service agencies in IL had not been paid that year, which threatened what is probably the cardinal function of humane government, which is to provide services to those that are in need. More social service agencies were forced to close every day that the standoff continued, and those agencies were providing absolutely vital services to the poor, the disabled, the mentally ill, to our senior citizens and recent immigrants, amongst others. Many of these agencies have been forever lost as a result since they cannot just magically recreate themselves once funds are available.

The problem had reached an absolutely critical juncture and the Governor had no choice but to essentially give in as he was perceived as the one that was trying to add extraneous issues to what should have been solely a budget negotiation. The delay on the Governor's part to even make a proposal, and similarly the later delays by Senator Cullerton in forwarding the school funding veto to the Governor were both inexcusable. One has to hope that the very negative consequences from this fiasco will spur all parties to reach agreement more quickly in the future. However, since the underlying problems still exist and are going to get worse, reaching budget agreements is going to be very difficult for many years to come.

The majority party holds a supermajority in the Illinois Senate and a significant majority in Illinois House. I believe the problem is and has been that many of the current, professional politicians are unwilling to admit and own their past fiscal and policy mistakes, and it is easier to shift the responsibility of governing on to future General Assemblies.

The political climate in Springfield does not lend itself to passing a truly balanced budget. The presence of heavily gerrymandered districts has locked in a certain level of political polarization, which is directly linked to the budgetary dysfunction in recent years. No one has to campaign for swing voters. For members of both caucuses, the solutions that would begin to address the crisis are unpalatable to some of the interest groups and constituencies that carry influence. For Democrats, cuts to state programs, regardless of how incidental they may be (an example being the governor's $4.5 million in proposed cuts to DPH grant programs in 2015) are met with ferocious opposition and counterintuitive claims that the budget cuts will actually cost the state more money in the long run. Similarly, many Republicans fear political fallout from cuts and are willing to acquiesce to raising taxes, even without passing substantive reforms to prevent future calamities.

Special interest groups

The majority party holds a supermajority in the Illinois Senate and a significant majority in Illinois House. I believe the problem is and has been that many of the current, professional politicians are unwilling to admit and own their past fiscal and policy mistakes, and it is easier to shift the responsibility of governing on to future General Assemblies.

Because the budget is outrageous and that is caused by the politicians that have taxed and spent. We will never get the budget down until some power is taken away from the politicians and we the people guide them correctly.

There are several key reasons for our budget stalemate. Our state is facing many significant fiscal challenges that were created over decades of legislators failing to address structural issues related to an outdated tax system, insufficient revenue to meet our obligations, and pension holidays that have created significant debt and unfunded liabilities. These problems were not created overnight, and they will not be resolved unless there are significant legislative efforts to comprehensively address all of these issues.

Governor Rauner has spent most of his term in office waging an ideological war on worker's rights rather than proposing and negotiating meaningful budget solutions. While Governor Rauner did not create the current structural challenges facing Illinois, his ideological positioning and unwavering demands on non-budget policies did hold the state budgeting process hostage for over two years. Governor Rauner's unwillingness to compromise with legislative leaders to create a responsible budget with adequate revenue has made a dire situation significantly worse and has resulted in an increased backlog of unpaid bills, several credit rating downgrades, and increased out migration as residents of Illinois have lost trust in the reliability of their government.

Legislators in both parties have been slow or unwilling to acknowledge the need for sufficient revenues to manage the key functions of the state. The recent bipartisan income tax increase passed by the House and Senate is proof that the income tax rollback in 2014 was a major mistake which members of both parties allowed to happen, and which resulted in enormous pain for countless Illinois residents.

Even when legislators on both sides of the aisle acknowledged that new revenues were necessary, few were willing to propose actual revenue solutions for fear of political consequences. The constant threats of a never-ending campaign season where every vote is an opportunity to blast your opponents in a TV ad creates a toxic political environment with little trust or room for compromise. Good government cannot thrive when there is no trust or good faith put forward even when ideological differences exist. The mass exodus of good legislators from the general assembly is deeply concerning. We need to elect strong leaders who are knowledgeable on the issues, and can be true to their values and convictions while ultimately prioritizing the well-being of our state and the residents of Illinois as their number one priority.

An inability to collaborate is a key aspect of flawed leadership. Governor Rauner seems to believe in "my way or the highway." This trait permeates Springfield. Again and again, during the two-year budget crisis, key stakeholders were left outside the room as decisions about residents and constituents were being made. We must think innovatively and collaboratively to solve our fiscal issues. The Governor's team must bring new voices and frontline experienced stakeholders to the table.

Change in Springfield can come in 2018 with many open seats and first-time candidates. I come from an education and public service background. Having new legislators that are public servants and who have proven experience in the areas our state is struggling with- education, public safety, revenue-generation, etc - will result in stronger legislation that better meets the needs of Illinois residents.

I think, in part, it's because there has been a failure (or refusal?) by all parties to openly acknowledge the severity of Illinois' fiscal situation. Neither the Governor nor the legislature has been particularly willing to state what to me appears obvious — that we can't provide decent state services and invest in our people, while also paying off our huge backlog of debt, unless we find additional sources of revenue. We cannot cut our way out of this mess. Add to that the fact that the negotiating parties have diametrically opposed views of what it is government should actually do and for whom it should provide and the "negotiations" (to the extent they happened at all) became toxic.

Bruce Rauner would have us kill labor unions and cut state services to the bone — leaving seniors, young people, public universities, the middle class and working people behind. Legislative Democrats, on the other hand, say we cannot cut anymore and still provide a baseline level of state services and the right for labor unions to collectively bargain must be protected. I side with the legislative Democrats whose passage of a budget never should have been pre-conditioned on the demands made by the Governor's so-called "turn-around agenda" which sought to force total capitulation by Democrats on a number of issues not even germane to the budget. Governor Rauner fundamentally misunderstood that governing is not the same as being a CEO where directives and marching orders are followed without question or negotiation — he refused to acknowledge that a co-equal branch of government saw things differently and that was the most important factor in the inability to pass a budget.

The two year budget stalemate has been a fiscal and governmental disaster in Illinois, and it is going to take a long time to dig us out of the hole. There is only one specific thing that the Illinois Constitution requires the Governor and General Assembly to do each year: pass a balanced budget. Unfortunately, the budget became entangled with extraneous agenda items and as a result we saw partisan gridlock. The best thing the voters can do this election cycle is to elect members of the General Assembly who are independent and did not rely on machine politicians for their election.

Because of Bruce Rauner. Illinois had 5 governors before him, three of which were Republicans and many Democrats in the legislature. Yet this is the first time a budget couldn't be passed? The blame falls on him.

We have a Republican Governor that is holding the budget hostage in order to advance his agenda.

I think the root of the issue is lack of unity in Springfield. Democrats and Republicans (namely the Governor) have different agendas and nobody was willing to bend.

We have a Republican Governor that is holding the budget hostage in order to advance his agenda.

I think the root of the issue is lack of unity in Springfield. Democrats and Republicans (namely the Governor) have different agendas and nobody was willing to bend.

The recent budget impasse was, more than anything, a titanic clash of wills and egos between Governor Rauner and Speaker Madigan. Both escalated the confrontation and stalemate beyond any reasonable measure, and it damaged our state for years to come. Getting real budgets will continue to be a challenge if the two sides are more focused on using budget negotiations to score political points than to achieve outcomes. There must be some basic level of good-faith intention that simply wasn't present before.

Springfield has failed us. Politicians for too long have represented their own pockets instead of our working families. This political self-interest leads to a bankruptcy of ideas where no one wants to think of innovative solutions and/or make the compromises necessary to get things done. It is also Governor Rauner and the Republican Party that have been pursuing their corporate agenda to cut services to our most vulnerable citizens and working families and there has been a lack of compromise there and that is part of the reason we went nearly two years without a state budget.

Springfield has failed us. Politicians for too long have represented their own pockets instead of our working families. This political self-interest leads to a bankruptcy of ideas where no one wants to think of innovative solutions and/or make the compromises necessary to get things done. It is also Governor Rauner and the Republican Party that have been pursuing their corporate agenda to cut services to our most vulnerable citizens and working families and there has been a lack of compromise there and that is part of the reason we went nearly two years without a state budget.

I do not believe that enough lawmakers have truly made a balanced budget their priority. Some may lack the courage to say no to spending that is not affordable. There is an element of wishful thinking in spending money that is not accounted for in income.

It has been difficult for the State to balance their budgets simply because of the nature of the culture that exists in Springfield. Our General Assembly has both Republicans and Democrats; however there is NO difference when it comes to spending. Our State has been on an uncontrolled spending spree for at least a decade. The culture of tax and spend without spending cuts has resulted to the financial malfeasance that exists in Illinois

I think the current governor and legislative leaders have lost sight of thier actual goals and have become more interested in beating the other than solving problems.

It has been difficult for the State to balance their budgets simply because of the nature of the culture that exists in Springfield. Our General Assembly has both Republicans and Democrats; however there is NO difference when it comes to spending. Our State has been on an uncontrolled spending spree for at least a decade. The culture of tax and spend without spending cuts has resulted to the financial malfeasance that exists in Illinois

The governor wanted to cut services essential to many representative districts especially in the northern parts of the State including but not limited to childcare.

I think the issues are complicated and that leads to very spirited, and often partisan, debate. There are also a lot of competing interests. There is only so much revenue as it stands and dividing resources requires prioritizing matters. It seems that often there is not an agreement as to the priorities.

Many years of partisan politics

The Governor has not had experience with the legislative process and the compromises entitled therein. His intransience and lack of understanding of the legislative process has contributed to the gridlock.

The budget impasse that existed for much of the past three years boiled down to a philosophical difference between Governor Rauner and the state legislature leaders. Governor Rauner wanted to prioritize his plan to weaken the state employee union by allowing union members to avoid paying dues, and refused to negotiate on the budget until his onerous and unfair preconditions were met. The result was a prolonged stalemate during which community-based organizations that provided childcare, services for seniors and other needed services continued to suffer, and mounting debts were owed to the state's various vendors.

Illinois is one of only a few states that still have a flat income tax, which makes it increasingly difficult to create a balanced budget. I believe that Illinois needs to be more progressive and innovative in the ways they create revenue for the state in order to address growing gaps in the budget.

Response: I think several factors contributed to the long budget impasse

The Governor and the legislative party leaders put political party considerations before the interest of the state to have a balanced budget that would provide the critical services that Illinoisans relay on and to pay its bills on time. It seemingly became too important to win political points and make the other person (party) look bad that solve the difficult problems facing the state.
Rank and file legislators did not take enough personal responsibility to press their leaders to resolve the budget impasse.
It is also important to recognize that there were very challenging issues that required courageous decision-making. The budget deficit with spending billions of dollars out of balance coupled with billions in unpaid bills made it easier for some to just wait to see what others would do rather than engage in decisions to reduce spending in critical areas and agree to find additional revenue. There were no easy options left and going forward the decision-making will be equally challenging. Whether its long-term budget stabilization or improving the business climate, rank and file legislators will be required to put the people of Illinois first and exercise courage to make the difficult decisions.

I think the issues are complicated and that leads to very spirited, and often partisan, debate. There are also a lot of competing interests. There is only so much revenue as it stands and dividing resources requires prioritizing matters. It seems that often there is not an agreement as to the priorities.

Many years of partisan politics

The budget impasse that existed for much of the past three years boiled down to a philosophical difference between Governor Rauner and the state legislature leaders. Governor Rauner wanted to prioritize his plan to weaken the state employee union by allowing union members to avoid paying dues, and refused to negotiate on the budget until his onerous and unfair preconditions were met. The result was a prolonged stalemate during which community-based organizations that provided childcare, services for seniors and other needed services continued to suffer, and mounting debts were owed to the state's various vendors.

Illinois is one of only a few states that still have a flat income tax, which makes it increasingly difficult to create a balanced budget. I believe that Illinois needs to be more progressive and innovative in the ways they create revenue for the state in order to address growing gaps in the budget.

The governor made it clear that he wouldn't compromise on a budget until a number of — often changing — demands were met, which the legislature, to varying degrees, attempted to meet. Government and legislating is about compromise, and when one side isn't willing to compromise or come to the table to negotiate in good faith, it is impossible to reach a solution.

In short, I believe it's because we have prioritized political interests and personal agendas over simply doing what's right for children and working families across Illinois.

There are several reasons.
When Gov. Rauner was a candidate in the general election, he presented himself as a Republican with a moderate social agenda who would bring business sense to Illinois government. He did not disclose his "turn around" agenda until after his election. The principles of his agenda are at odds with the strongly held beliefs of most of the people of the state of Illinois and the Democratic majority in the General Assembly. Yet, Gov. Rauner insisted that the Democratic legislature adhere to his newly revealed value system as part of the budget negotiations.
Governor-elect Rauner insisted that the previously passed tax increase to 5% expire and revert to 3.75 percent. Without the additional revenue from the previous tax increase, the resultant increase in unpaid bills, the continuing spending from court-orders, and appropriations for schools, there was no way to develop a balanced budget, let alone pass it without Republican votes, which were not forthcoming.
It's always difficult to pass a budget. The last decades have required sleight-of-hand maneuvers by leadership on both sides of the aisle to get the votes to pass a budget and go home at the end of the session. Tricks like putting off spending into the following fiscal year, sweeping funds from dedicated accounts, or authorizing cuts in spending that would never be implemented solved the immediate problem of passing a "balanced" budget but did nothing to solve the structural deficit that these budgets reflected. With a new governor who had his own agenda, as described above, and who felt empowered to bring the system to a halt, the budget became his tool, rather than a problem to solve to keep government going.

The governor made it clear that he wouldn't compromise on a budget until a number of — often changing — demands were met, which the legislature, to varying degrees, attempted to meet. Government and legislating is about compromise, and when one side isn't willing to compromise or come to the table to negotiate in good faith, it is impossible to reach a solution.

Mike Madigan and Jim Durkin have run our state into the ground. Illinois is run by polarized and financially illiterate lawmakers who are rarely punished for their decisions, but rather rewarded for towing the party line. Gerrymandering and political patronage workers (who turn out the vote as if their jobs and promotions depended on it- because it does) have protected those in power from any consequences. Instead of growing the economic pie, safely-re-elected lawmakers are arguing over shrinking scraps and rewarding their friends with property tax breaks and "vendor assistance" jobs.

In short, I believe it's because we have prioritized political interests and personal agendas over simply doing what's right for children and working families across Illinois.

We have spent the past several years with Madigan and Rauner at each others necks unable to move forward and find agreeable ways to support our communities. Legislators feel pressure to maintain their partisan allegiances to them and not work across the aisle for the common good. A balanced budget requires creative revenue generation and program scrutiny that does not play well politically.

Because we have a dysfunctional government that is more worried about getting reelected than doing the job they were elected to do. Our elected officials continue to cave to special interests instead of working for the people who elected them.

Because we have a dysfunctional government that is more worried about getting reelected than doing the job they were elected to do. Our elected officials continue to cave to special interests instead of working for the people who elected them.

The deteriorating financial condition in Illinois and the rising cost of our unfunded pension liabilities makes balancing the budget very difficult, even in the best of times. Unfortunately, under Gov. Rauner, we have had only the worst of times. In a perfect world, the legislature and the Governor would work together to make the difficult decisions necessary to balance the budget. We inevitably would disagree on how much we should cut, or how much we should raise, but that is the nature of those discussions. Since Gov. Rauner took office, we have basically not even had those discussions. He has refused, since day 1, to discuss the math of the budget unless we succumb to the demands of his political agenda.

Most reasonable people would understand that you cannot force a legislator to vote against the needs and wishes of his or her constituency by threatening to hold the budget hostage. Most reasonable people (like former Gov. Thompson and Edgar) would suggest that the damage you would do to the state by not passing a budget and the additional debt that you would incur, would make that a very bad strategy. They might suggest that it would be better to balance the budget and seek compromise and incremental change. Unfortunately, Gov, Rauner did not heed their advice. It is very difficult to pass a budget without the cooperation of the Governor. It is even more difficult without even his participation.

The deteriorating financial condition in Illinois and the rising cost of our unfunded pension liabilities makes balancing the budget very difficult, even in the best of times. Unfortunately, under Gov. Rauner, we have had only the worst of times. In a perfect world, the legislature and the Governor would work together to make the difficult decisions necessary to balance the budget. We inevitably would disagree on how much we should cut, or how much we should raise, but that is the nature of those discussions. Since Gov. Rauner took office, we have basically not even had those discussions. He has refused, since day 1, to discuss the math of the budget unless we succumb to the demands of his political agenda.

Most reasonable people would understand that you cannot force a legislator to vote against the needs and wishes of his or her constituency by threatening to hold the budget hostage. Most reasonable people (like former Gov. Thompson and Edgar) would suggest that the damage you would do to the state by not passing a budget and the additional debt that you would incur, would make that a very bad strategy. They might suggest that it would be better to balance the budget and seek compromise and incremental change. Unfortunately, Gov, Rauner did not heed their advice. It is very difficult to pass a budget without the cooperation of the Governor. It is even more difficult without even his participation.

Years under Governors Blaogojovich and Quinn the state of Illinois has been mishandled in it fiscal house. For decades the State House of Illinois has been controlled by leadership that is lacking in integrity and truthfulness. Governor Rauner campaigned on wasteful spending, ingrained political power, property tax relief, and job creation; he wanted to turn the state around. After two years without a state budget and decades of unbalanced budgets, the House Speaker and his Democrat majority are not willing to help this State succeed instead they give us a permanent 32% income tax increase. Bipartisan leaders in both chambers worked hard on a "Grand Bargain" which would balance the budget with meaningful reforms. This did not come to pass because Speaker Madigan refused to be reasonable and engage in negotiations.

Years under Governors Blaogojovich and Quinn the state of Illinois has been mishandled in it fiscal house. For decades the State House of Illinois has been controlled by leadership that is lacking in integrity and truthfulness. Governor Rauner campaigned on wasteful spending, ingrained political power, property tax relief, and job creation; he wanted to turn the state around. After two years without a state budget and decades of unbalanced budgets, the House Speaker and his Democrat majority are not willing to help this State succeed instead they give us a permanent 32% income tax increase. Bipartisan leaders in both chambers worked hard on a "Grand Bargain" which would balance the budget with meaningful reforms. This did not come to pass because Speaker Madigan refused to be reasonable and engage in negotiations.

Power struggle. Previous Governor Quinn and current Senate President Cullerton fought with Mike Madigan over the budget, and now Gov Rauner is forced to do the same. There is not enough revenue, even after a Democrat majority 32% permanent income tax increase, to balance the current expenses that the State endures. For the state to meet its current expenditures, many programs would need to be drastically reduced financially. Key program cuts will hurt different politicians. Nobody wants to lose financial benefits in their own backyard even if its for the betterment of the State.

Springfield politicians have been living beyond their means for decades, and Illinois taxpayers have been paying the price. The Auditor General's office has stated that Illinois has been without a truly balanced budget since the early 2000s, and some analysts say the most recent budget is unbalanced as well, even though it was sold to voters as a balanced budget. I believe the chronic overspending is due to the fact that politicians have not been restricted in their ability to spend taxpayer money.

Illinois' constitution has a balanced budget requirement, but it lacks teeth or an enforcement mechanism. That is why I support a constitutional amendment that would withhold pay and benefits for lawmakers if they fail to pass balanced budgets. Responsible budgeting is perhaps the most important task of our elected officials, and it's time to hold them accountable for their inaction.

Unfortunately, partisan politics has become so cancerous in Springfield that it has interfered with the process of legislating. In addition, it is important for members of each caucus to hold their leadership accountable and to challenge them to do the jobs we are sent there to do.

Power struggle. Previous Governor Quinn and current Senate President Cullerton fought with Mike Madigan over the budget, and now Gov Rauner is forced to do the same. There is not enough revenue, even after a Democrat majority 32% permanent income tax increase, to balance the current expenses that the State endures. For the state to meet its current expenditures, many programs would need to be drastically reduced financially. Key program cuts will hurt different politicians. Nobody wants to lose financial benefits in their own backyard even if its for the betterment of the State.

Springfield politicians have been living beyond their means for decades, and Illinois taxpayers have been paying the price. The Auditor General's office has stated that Illinois has been without a truly balanced budget since the early 2000s, and some analysts say the most recent budget is unbalanced as well, even though it was sold to voters as a balanced budget. I believe the chronic overspending is due to the fact that politicians have not been restricted in their ability to spend taxpayer money.

Illinois' constitution has a balanced budget requirement, but it lacks teeth or an enforcement mechanism. That is why I support a constitutional amendment that would withhold pay and benefits for lawmakers if they fail to pass balanced budgets. Responsible budgeting is perhaps the most important task of our elected officials, and it's time to hold them accountable for their inaction.

Unfortunately, partisan politics has become so cancerous in Springfield that it has interfered with the process of legislating. In addition, it is important for members of each caucus to hold their leadership accountable and to challenge them to do the jobs we are sent there to do.

I think that this process has been so difficult because officials are losing sight of why they are elected in the first place. One of my campaign themes has been to "Bring Elected Officials Back in Touch with the People they Represent" That is why my focus has been to truly listen to the residents of my district and ask them about their concerns. I ran a survey on my website asking voters to tell me their concerns and the top issues were high property taxes, soaring income taxes, and disappointment in the way the budgeting process was handled. Residents I've spoken to cited this because of the lack of negotiation and transparency that took place during this.

At the core of this issue is the many years of fiscal mismanagement by Democrats in Illinois. I wrote a letter to the editor of my local paper during the budgeting process stating that legislatures should be looking for real reform in the areas that residents are concerned about. I thought that the Governor's veto was the right thing to do as there were no real reforms included. It is not an appropriate tactic to simply just keep raising the lever on taxes. Residents seek relief in other areas, and plus this is a reason why so many people are leaving Illinois. The result of this negotiation was a 32% income tax increase and an unbalanced budget which is absolutely a step in the wrong direction. Illinois needs legislative leaders who can listen to their resident's concerns and then work to negotiate a positive outcome.

Too much about Springfield is about politics not policy. I believe if everyone was negotiating in good faith, a balanced budget could have been achieved. Rank & file Republicans and Democrats had the will to work together across the aisle, but leadership was not as willing.

Michael Madigan and the Democrats have been holding the state hostage in order to continue furthering their own agendas, which have been detrimental to the state for decades.

Too much about Springfield is about politics not policy. I believe if everyone was negotiating in good faith, a balanced budget could have been achieved. Rank & file Republicans and Democrats had the will to work together across the aisle, but leadership was not as willing.

Chronic partisanship.

I believe that it has been so difficult to get a balanced budget in Springfield because there is very little enthusiasm for compromise. Deal making seems to be a lost art form.

Partisanship. People are too comfortable in their positions and don't feel like they need to do anything or work together. People have been in their positions too long. Citizens are starting to wake up and change this. The politics have been too polarizing. Elected officials have been representing their party and not their constituents.

Partisanship. People are too comfortable in their positions and don't feel like they need to do anything or work together. People have been in their positions too long. Citizens are starting to wake up and change this. The politics have been too polarizing. Elected officials have been representing their party and not their constituents.

The political climate, partisanship, and the lack of adequate revenue makes it difficult to pass a balanced budget. After Illinois' hard costs (nondiscretionary spending), Illinois must find revenues for current service expenditures including education, healthcare, human services, and public safety. Moreover, the governor and legislators have different priorities for how the remaining funding should be spent. As a compromise to multiple priorities, the governor and legislators spend more than Illinois collects in revenue.

Chronic partisanship.

I believe that it has been so difficult to get a balanced budget in Springfield because there is very little enthusiasm for compromise. Deal making seems to be a lost art form.

The political climate, partisanship, and the lack of adequate revenue makes it difficult to pass a balanced budget. After Illinois' hard costs (nondiscretionary spending), Illinois must find revenues for current service expenditures including education, healthcare, human services, and public safety. Moreover, the governor and legislators have different priorities for how the remaining funding should be spent. As a compromise to multiple priorities, the governor and legislators spend more than Illinois collects in revenue.

I believe that it is difficult because politicians in Illinois have been pushing problems down the road for so many years. Too many of them lack the political will necessary to pass structural reforms to our major government programs. We don't have many politicians that will make the hard decisions and stand up to special interests. I've been a nurse for 17 years. I chose this path in life because I enjoy taking care of people. I like being hands on. I like helping patients. When I look at Springfield, I see policies that are hurting families instead of helping them. I'm running to help families and that means passing a balanced budget that doesn't mortgage our future or burden families with higher taxes.

Springfield had difficulty passing budgets because our leaders couldn't work together: We had a Governor who wouldn't negotiate on the budget unless his turnaround agenda was passed even though many of the items were unrelated to the budget. We had a Speaker of the House willing to wait out the Governor regardless of the financial problems facing the state

Politifact reported on March 17, 1917 "The word 'balanced' seems to have become a politically malleable term. And not just with Rauner," according to Chris Mooney, director of the Institute ofGovernmentandPublicAffairs attheUniversityofIllinois,n otingformerDemocraticGovs. Pat Quinn, Rod Blagojevich and others have bent the meaning. "It is in some sense institutionalized and hidden by all the special funds. So does the proposed budget have expenditures equal to revenues in clear, concrete and plausible terms? It doesn't look like it. "I think the term has been stretched so far by both sides of the aisles and both branches over recent years," Mooney added, that he would "hardly blame" the governor for "playing this ongoing political word game."

I think over the two and a half years with no budget in the state, Governor Rauner's ego got the best of him making it impossible for him to work like a politician and compromise. He didn't seem to understand how to get out of the Chief Executive of a company who is beholden to shareholders and learn the role of Governor/Public Servant beholden to the people of Illinois.

Springfield had difficulty passing budgets because our leaders couldn't work together: We had a Governor who wouldn't negotiate on the budget unless his turnaround agenda was passed even though many of the items were unrelated to the budget. We had a Speaker of the House willing to wait out the Governor regardless of the financial problems facing the state