By Kevin Robinson in News on Aug 10, 2007 1:50PM
At the time of this writing, a budget had not cleared the Senate. This morning major news outlets are reporting that the Senate voted 52-5 to pass an operating budget late last night similar to what the House approved 99-9 earlier in the day. The Senate legislation will have to be voted on by the House before it can go to the governor's desk. The potential budget includes increases in spending for education, but not much else.
The man who is in the worst position to complain, Rod Blagojevich, had some issues with it, citing the lack of help for the beleaguered CTA and contending that it is $1 billion out of balance. The bill went to the Senate yesterday, and House Speaker Michael Madigan said that the Senate was making changes that the House could review tomorrow. Along the way, Sen. John Cullerton (D-6) managed to raise the cigarette tax by 90 cents a pack, which allows counties to raise their tax by a dollar. The Senate is also working on a separate plan that will fund capital projects around the state, and would include putting a casino in Chicago.
This whole debacle has been too depressing for us to want to put too much time into following (it's important, we know, we just don't want to write about it). While we aren't generally big fans of the GOP around these parts, we're kind of pissed off that there isn't much of an opposition party to rally around in this state. Not one single Republican leader has stood up to point out the inadequacies and failures of the Blagojevich administration, Senate leader Emil Jones, or House Speaker Mike Madigan's cynical maneuvering. Instead, we're left with the choice of bad or worse, all while our state crumbles around us, and our leaders in the state bring us a casino, while handing out expedited appropriations for votes.