Sen. Althoff is raising objections to a state budget plan pushed through by the Illinois Senate’s Democratic leadership – a proposal nobody, including the bill’s sponsors, had read. The proposal, House Bill 859, was approved by the Senate at about 1 am on the morning of May 7 along partisan lines.

“Frankly, the Senate is better than this,” Althoff said. “To steamroll a budget through the General Assembly without giving anyone time to review it highlights how broken Illinois government has become. At a time we are facing a $13 billion deficit, we should be working together to fix this fiscal crisis and doing so in an open and public manner. Ramming through mystery budgets in the middle of the night will only serve to make the public more cynical, and rightly so.”

Althoff noted that earlier this year, Illinois Senate Democrats and Republicans joined together to pass Senate Bill 3622, a measure shedding sunshine into the legislative process by requiring a four day review period before a final budget could be approved. The measure is currently stalled in the Illinois House of Representatives.

“We were right to pass that measure, because many times things are slipped into budgets that shouldn’t be,” Althoff said. “By giving lawmakers, the public and the media a reasonable amount of time to review budgets isn’t just good government, it’s also common-sense. It’s disappointing the current Senate leadership have shunned sunshine during this budget process, when they so warmly embraced it early this year in Senate Bill 3622.”

Althoff, who serves on two Senate Appropriations committees, said the details of what precisely is in the budget are vague. Senate Democratic leaders crafted it through vast lump sum appropriations which will require the Governor to make draconian cuts down the road in order to balance it.

“We are dealing with the worst budget crisis in state history. We should be coming together as a General Assembly to address it, not kicking the problem over to the Governor,” Althoff said. “It’s time to end the theatrics, stop the games and act like the lawmakers our voters elected us to be.”

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