WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Could January Bring A State Budget?

Jan 3, 2016

The chances of Illinois state leaders approving a budget are now better thanks to a quirk in state law.

The legislature is supposed to meet off-and-on from January to May. And in that time - a bill needs at least 50% plus one to pass.

But in the last seven months of a year - a quirky state law requires the threshold to go up to 60%.

“It was designed to try and get most of the work done in the first part of the year,” said Charlie Wheeler, a long-time state government observer with the University of Illinois in Springfield.

The thinking was that lawmakers would be motivated to pass legislation in the first half of the year because it’d be more difficult later.

But in 2015 that law didn’t help and leaders never agreed on a state budget.

Governor Bruce Rauner has said January’s lower-vote threshold could help with a compromise -- but there’s no guarantee.