Election day was a good one for Illinois Democrats as both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly now feature a Democratic veto-proof majority, which will not have to bow to the will of Governor Pat Quinn. Instead, a local state legislator predicts, the heavy victory for Democrats will lead to progress in resolving the state’s budget crisis and reducing the its debt.
“If you look at what all the candidates ran on—fiscal responsibility and getting our fiscal house in order—[the state debt] is going to be the top priority. The first thing we’re going to have deal with are the pension issues, which hopefully we’ll deal with before the end of this term,”said Greg Harris, four-time 11th District Representative in the state House, a district representing Lincoln Square, Andersonville and Uptown. Harris ran for reelection unopposed this year.
As is the case with any budget crisis, cuts in spending will be necessary to bring Illinois back into the black, Harris said. He also said that spending in his district could also potentially be cut.
“I think in order to bring our expenses down to a level that matches our resources, [spending cuts] will affect not only this district, but every district in the state,” Harris said.
He added that he did not foresee taxes being raised on residents to close the budget gap.
Harris said that the one-sided general assembly will be able to better set aside politicking in order to address Illinois’ fiscal issues, and that the voters of Illinois showed they want representatives who are willing to work together.
“People want elected officials who are going to go down [to Springfield] and work together, across the aisle and around the state to fix problems, not to give press conferences and attack each other. The message to all of us is ‘Go down there and get these things taken care of.’”
The state’s budget deficit is more than $44 billion, the worst in the country.
The Illinois House now features a 71-40 Democrat majority, while the party’s majority in the state senate now stands at 40-19.