The Illinois State Senate voted to approved a $50.6 billion state budget for fiscal year 2024. The measure now moves to the Illinois House which is expected to vote sometime this weekend. The budget plan is more than 3400 pages.

The budget measure passed the Democrat controlled senate by a vote of 34 to 22. Not a single Republican member voted yes. Three Democrats, Suzy Glowiak, Patrick Joyce and Doris Turner voted no.

The lead budget negotiator for the Democrats, Senator Elgie Sims of Chicago, is quoted as saying, “We want your partnership, But we need your partnership to be transparent and to be authentic. And when it is not, we will do it without you.”

Senate, Republican Leader John Curran criticized the budget for ignoring the “overwhelming call for relief” from tax and utility costs. “The budget presented here today undoubtedly represents a further expansion and growth of state government at a time when Illinois itself is contracted,” Curran said.

It is of no doubt Illinois faces a steep fiscal crisis. We have a mountain of unfunded pension debt and taxpayers are forking over some of the highest taxes in the nation. This is particularly accute in Lake County.

Sensible people find it important to invest in education, programs that benefit families and our sensible values. But change is overdue.

Unfortunately the Fair Tax failed which would have made wealthy individuals pay their fair share, helping to pay down debt and that state’s expenses. Be that as it may, it is imperative that the causes of high property taxes in Illinois are addressed and fixed.

High property taxes are due largely to pension debt and the way we fund education in Illinois. Our local school boards are often less than austere. Just ask the people of Warren Township, who recently got a precipitous and stunning property tax increase.

Until high property taxes are properly dealt with and reduced, it is difficult to celebrate the passing of a budget in Springfield.