Senate Democrats are touting a budget framework they say cuts unnecessary spending, pays down overdue bills, and prioritizes education. But as IPR's Amanda Vinicky reports, it's sparse on details.
The Senate Democratic budget plan gives schools the same amount of money as last year. But just about everywhere else, it cuts. Most state agencies will see their operations sliced, and universities will be cut by 3-and-a-quarter percent. And though they couldn't say which, Senate Democrats say the plan counts on closing some state facilities, including prisons. Plus it's all predicated on making huge cuts to Medicaid, the state's program for the poor. Legislators acknowledge it could be painful. But they've been angling to brag who can cut the most. Senate Democrats say their plan spends less than last year AND less than the governor asked for in his budget proposal.
Here's Senator Dan Kotowski, of Park Ridge:
"It's responsible. I think taxpayers are clamoring for a budget like this. That requires the state to live within its means, only spend the money we take in."
Though negotiations are ongoing, Kotowski says Democrats may soon vote on budget legislation. But expect competing plans too ... the House has been working on its own version of the budget.
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