Murphysboro….State Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) has signed on as a chief co-sponsor of legislation filed in Springfield this week that would require the Illinois Auditor General to certify that any budget passed by the General Assembly is truly balanced. If the legislature fails to pass a balanced budget on time the bill would stop politicians’ paychecks in Springfield until the budget is balanced.
“In May, the Democrats that control the General Assembly passed a budget that they admitted was more than $3 billion out of balance,” Bryant said. “Aside from the fact that the budget they passed was not balanced, passing the budget the way they did was unconstitutional.”
The legislation Bryant is sponsoring says that if the General Assembly fails to gain certification from the Auditor General within 30 days that a balanced budget has been passed, then the Comptroller will stop payments for the salary of General Assembly members and Constitutional Officers. Also, within 10 days of the decision by the Auditor General that says a budget is not balanced, the General Assembly would be required to convene to enact a new state budget.
“The people of Illinois deserve better than unbalanced budgets and out of control spending,” Bryant said. “We’ve seen budgets that were not balanced by hundreds of millions of dollars in the past and by billions of dollars this year. Our debt is massive and growing every day. It’s unconscionable.”
Bryant says the fiscal irresponsibility shown by the majority party in Illinois for the past decade-plus has Illinois at the brink of insolvency.
“We’re facing a multi-billion dollar operating deficit for this fiscal year and for next, we don’t even have a budget yet, and we’re 7 months into the fiscal year,” Bryant said. “Passing a balanced budget is not only a basic responsibility of the General Assembly, it is the only way we can start to work our way through billions in unpaid bills and a massive structural deficit.” Bryant said.
Bryant is urging her colleagues in the legislature to sign on to the “balance the budget or don’t get paid” bill.
“The Illinois Constitution requires a balanced budget be passed. The problem is, there are no consequences now if this does not happen,” Bryant said. “The idea behind this bill is simple: I say, if the politicians don’t pass a balanced budget they should not get paid,” Bryant said.
HB 4399 was filed on Friday. Rep. Bryant will be pushing for its passage upon her return to Springfield later this month.