Each side is preparing to spend millions as Rauner and other Republicans campaign to weaken the Democrats’ years-long dominance in the General Assembly. Republicans paint Democrats as interested only in raising taxes and opposing reforms, while the Democrats accuse the GOP of trying to help the wealthy at the expense of the middle class and vulnerable residents.
The attacks have gone on for months but have intensified in recent weeks with emails, news conferences and TV ads over everything from term limits to the minimum amount workers on state construction projects should earn.
The election-focused politics are a major reason Illinois doesn’t have a state budget nearly 11 months into the fiscal year, and why lawmakers likely aren’t motivated to pass a deal for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1, before lawmakers adjourn their spring session Tuesday.
“Both sides are so focused on partisan politics and the upcoming election that they refuse to do their job,” said Rep. Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat who often votes with Republicans. Franks announced earlier this month he’s leaving the Legislature, due largely, he said, to Springfield’s gridlock.