The Illinois General Assembly closed out its spring session early Saturday morning. After months of work, they'd abandoned many of the Democratic majority's top legislative priorities. That has Republicans claiming at least a temporary victory. Democrats had a long list of policy ideas this year, including raising the minimum wage, imposing a new tax on millionaires, and preventing the automatic income tax cut that's scheduled for the end of the year.None of those things happened, thanks in part to the lockstep opposition of Republicans like freshman Rep. Tom Demmer of Dixon:
"I think it was was good news for taxpayers that we were able to stop some of the tax and spend proposals that had been floated earlier in the year."
Of course, Democrats shouldn't need Republican votes to enact their agenda -- they have large majorities in both the House and Senate. But the votes were just not there. In lieu of saying where they stand on legislation, Democrats decided to put some of their ideas directly before voters as advisory referenda. Senate President John Cullerton says that could be key in winning support for something like the minimum wage hike.
"This referendum will be an excellent way of putting enough pressure, I think, on those legislators ... to help pass that."
That means while this year's Democratic agenda might have stalled, it's not dead yet.
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