Op-Ed: Wheeler Says Working Groups Key to Ending Budget Impasse

In recent weeks, the success of bipartisan work by rank-and-file members of the General Assembly has led to important stopgap funding for higher education and social service providers. I've been cautiously optimistic this work could lead to a constitutionally balanced budget.

The success of that work is why the current efforts of the budget working groups is so important to ending this budget impasse that has gone on far too long already. It was the rank-and-file members that found areas of compromise to keep the doors open for those vital services, and it is how we’re going to get a comprehensive budget passed.

It’s clear though, Illinoisans don’t just want any budget, but a budget that is built on structural reforms that will stand up to constitutional muster by being balanced. It’s these types of discussions that are taking place in the working groups, so I sincerely hope that those resistant to this mindset in Springfield will realize it is the way forward. If leaders don’t allow the comprise and ideas coming out of the working groups to be part of the final budget proposal, we’ll be back at square one and we don’t have time for that anymore.

Things in Springfield can change from one day to the next, but we have a real opportunity to get the job done and it’s time to do it. A lot can happen when the partisan wrangling is put aside and we let honest reform and comprise take place. If we do, we can change the path Illinois is on, grow a more friendly business climate with good jobs that will broaden the tax base and provide the revenue the state needs without placing more stress on already stretched taxpayers.