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CHARLESTON -- State Rep. Reggie Phillips, R-Charleston, had Eastern Illinois University in mind when voting in favor of the budget bill package approved by both chambers of the state legislature over the weekend and holiday.

According to a statement from Phillips, the state representative voted to "save" EIU and to prevent Illinois receiving a junk bond rating from bond rating houses, which it was on track to do before movement on the budget continued.

Th package of bills would provide the state of Illinois with an annual budget, something it has not seen in two years. However, the funding formula has steered some, including Gov. Bruce Rauner, away from supporting it.  

According to the Associated Press, the revenue-generating measure House lawmakers voted on would raise the income tax rate by 32 percent. The approved measure would increase the personal income tax rate from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent. Corporations would pay 7 percent instead of 5.25 percent.

Phillips said in his statement that the state would be worse off without the budget.

"The budget I voted to send to the governor spends about $3 billion less than if we don’t pass a budget this year," Phillips' statement read. "The state is on pace to spend $7.6 billion it doesn’t have this year without a budget in place. No action would lead to more disaster in our already bankrupt state government."

A minority in his own party to vote "yes" on the measure, Phillips still called out the Democratic-led legislature in his statement.

"The result of the General Assembly’s inability to send the governor a budget these past two years have resulted in our state spending $6.2 billion more than what is in the bank account," he said. 

Phillips also expressed a continued interest he has in the governor's reform plans including term limits and property tax "relief." 

State Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, also voted in favor of the budget measures. Righter was the lone Senate Republican to vote with Democrats on the bills. 

He said he'd like to have seen more spending reductions, "but in a Democrat-majority legislature, this is as good as we can get," the AP reported.

"The most important issue we face right now is the fiscal stability of our state," said Righter, according to AP. "We need to protect our critical state services and the citizens of Illinois who rely on them. This budget is balanced."

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Jarad Jarmon is a reporter for the JG-TC. He covers the city of Charleston, Eastern Illinois University, Mattoon schools and the Regional Office of Education.

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