Senate approves emergency budget authority

Staff reports

Another piece of the state budget is moving ahead as legislators try to finish the job today.

The Senate voted 31-26 today for House Bill 2428, dubbed the Emergency Budget Act. It now goes to the House.

The plan requires lawmakers and other top-ranking state officials to take 12 furlough days in the next budget year. It gives Gov. Pat Quinn extraordinary power to deal with budget shortfalls throughout the year by moves such as borrowing from special state funds to cover gaps.

It also brings in about $1.2 billion by selling off half of the state's rights to tobacco settlement proceeds, and extends the period for the state to pay off older bills next year by four months.

"It's unfortunate we have to do it ... but this is where we find ourselves," said Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago.

Republicans said it was irresponsible to use more borrowing to fill budget holes.

"Face up to what the people of the state can afford and only spend that," said Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine.

State Capitol Bureau