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5 Senate Democrats Departed From Party Norms on Budget Votes

06/01/2015 11:05 am ET | Updated Jun 01, 2016

The Senate in Illinois passed nine budget bills that would allow for about $4 billion more in spending than the state will make in revenue for the state's Fiscal Year 2016 budget. Similar versions of the bills were passed May 26 in the House of Representatives.

The bills passed solely by Democratic votes as Democrats have a super-majority in both legislatures. Each spending bill had between 30 and 33 yes votes, all by Democrats. Republicans voted no. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Republican lawmakers have said they do not want to pass an unbalanced budget and want to cut spending and make structural changes in government before looking for more sources of revenue, such as an increased income tax or sales taxes.

Democrats, however, have said they do not want to see programs cut which provide popular education, health and human services to their constituents. House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton have urged Rauner and General Assembly Republicans to accept the bills passed this week by Democrats and help look for other places in which to cut spending or find extra revenue to pay for them. You can see what these bills would entail here.

Ten state Senate Democrats voted against some or all of the budget bills and contrary to the majority of the rest of their party. Here's a look at five of them and their votes:

Sen. Daniel Biss (Evanston)

Biss voted no on all nine budget bills.

Sen. Melinda Bush (Grayslake)

Bush voted no on all of them, though she mistakenly recorded a "not voting" response for S.B. 2032, which she has requested be fixed. She explained why she rejected all nine bills that would increase spending in an emailed statement:

Our job as elected officials is to serve the public interest. Budget solutions that simply allow existing problems to continue serve nobody. I broke with my party to vote against this budget because it does not solve anything.

Sen. Thomas Cullerton (Villa Park)

Cullerton voted no on all the budget bills.

Sen. Steven Landek (Summit)

Landek voted no on all the budget bills except S.B. 2037, which allocates about $2.3 billion for the Department of Public Health and the Department of Child and Family Services.

Sen. Andy Manar (Bunker Hill)

Manar voted yes on all the bills except S.B. 2029, which allocates money toward Illinois public colleges and universities, and S.B. 2037, which allocates about $2.3 billion for the Department of Public Health and the Department of Child and Family Services.

(Check out five other Democratic senators who bucked expectations and voted against the grain of the majority of the rest of their party at Reboot Illinois.)

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