The state’s $28 billion budget has cleared its first hurdle. The House passed a version of the bill Wednesday night.
Though they filed hundreds of amendments to the budget during their stay in Illinois, House Democrats offered around only 40 amendments on the floor this week. Of those, Republicans accepted 10.
Included were amendments restoring money for clean water cleanup, an ombudsman role in the Department of Child Services and domestic violence assistance.
Among the rejected amendments were mass transit funding, minority scholarships and an in-home medical care program for seniors. Indianapolis Representative Bill Crawford, the ranking member in the House Ways and Means Committee, said Democrats have serious concerns about the budget.
“If we’re going to have a bipartisan budget,” he said, “there needs to be an opportunity for bipartisan input.”
Budget author Jeff Espich said the problem is Democrats want to spend far more than the state has.
“This takes the spending proposals now put forth by the Democrat caucus,” he said, “this evening on second reading amendments to over a quarter of a billion dollars over the biennium.”
The proposed two-year budget now moves to the Senate for further changes.