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Peoria-area Lawmakers Represent the Spectrum, In Vote that Ended Historic Impasse

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Peoria-area state representatives voted mostly along party lines on the decision to override the Governor’s vetoes, giving the state its first budget in more than two years.

Ten Illinois House Republicans broke with Gov. Bruce Rauner to end the state’s budget impasse. Peoria’s newly-elected State Representative was not one of them. Rep. Spain voted against the budget package, which includes a permanent income tax increase. Spain says it’s “the worst possible time” to raise Illinois’ taxes. Instead, Spain points to the lack of accompanying reforms that he says might allow the state to catch up on unpaid bills.

The spending plan puts in place a 32 percent increase in the state income tax rate. It would raise $5 billion annually and cut spending by more than $2 billion.

Rep. Mike Unes of East Peoria was among the 10 Republicans who voted to override the Governor’s vetoes. He says it’s no reason for celebration, the state desperately needed a budget. Unes says junk bond status would have cost the state millions more, but he knows this may be his political undoing.

As expected, Peoria Democratic Rep. Jehan Gordon Booth voted with the majority. She says it was disappointing Gov. Rauner failed to work with lawmakers to get a budget, particularly after they passed bills to satisfy demands outlined in his “turnaround agenda.”

She says the state will again be able to pay for programs that help prevent violence, provide senior home care, and early childhood interventions as well as funding to colleges and universities, and student financial aid.

While Reps. Spain and Gordon- Booth hold divergent views on the budget issues, they seem to agree more still needs to be done to encourage economic growth and investment in the state.