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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Rauner: More Cuts On The Way

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Another swath of programs could get the axe. Governor Bruce Rauner released a second round of cuts Friday due to the uncertainty over a new state budget. 

There's no deal, with the new fiscal year beginning July 1.

At the start of this month, Rauner -- a Republican -- announced he's closing a downstate prison work camp, the State Museum in Springfield, and cutting off funding of a program that helps low-income people pay their electric bills.

That list has grown.

The governor’s office announced what amounts to $820 million in savings by suspending construction projects at state universities, slashing state funding of Amtrak service, and halting state police from buying new forensic equipment.

Other cuts include no longer allowing gun-owners to use a shooting complex in Sparta and suspending money for the University of Illinois' Cooperative Extension.

Rauner says it's needed because Democratic leaders won't pass his agenda. He wants a property tax freeze, reduced union power, lower costs for business when workers are injured, and limited legislator terms.

Democratic Senator Kim Lightford says none of those will fill a budget gap.

"What's immediately happening is the governor is hurting people with no recourse, no concern, no compassion,” Lightford said. “He talked about being compassionate and competitive, and it's a joke."

Earlier Friday, Rauner said of his feud with Democrats: "We’ve got to have a change in direction in a battle between the political class and the middle class. That’s what this is really about."

Rauner rejects the idea of a short-term spending plan to keep government running while negotiations continue.

"A temporary budget would be a mistake because for us to do an unbalanced budget a month at a time is bad," Rauner said.

Democrats have said Rauner’s holding state government hostage to pass extreme policies. 

Democrats say Rauner's policies and his cuts will harm the middle class.

The governor's office offered no total of how much money it's hoping to save through the cuts, and would not say what will happen if a deal is in fact reached by the end of the month.

  • Amanda Vinicky and Tony Arnold contributed to this report.



Administration Initiates Additional Management Steps to Prepare for Madigan-Cullerton Budget

Steps to Save Additional $420 Million
Cancel Funding for Legislative Earmarks
Freeze Non-Transportation Capital Projects

House Speaker Mike Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and their caucuses two weeks ago finished passing a budget with a $4 billion hole.

Since that time, Speaker Madigan and President Cullerton have refused to pass real, compromise reforms that will grow the economy, pay down the debt and end the era of wasteful spending and broken budgets while implementing parliamentary maneuvers to keep the governor from acting on the budget bills.

In preparation for the possibility of having no budget on July 1, or a budget with a $4 billion hole, the Administration is initiating its second round of steps to responsibly manage the state’s finances. However, the options available to the Administration remain limited because the Madigan-Cullerton budget includes no reforms.

“Governor Rauner has compromised repeatedly, but Speaker Madigan and the politicians he controls continue to block any real reform,” Rauner spokesman Lance Trover said. “It’s deeply troubling to see that Speaker Madigan remains committed to sacrificing the middle class in order to protect the political class.”

More steps will be announced as they are finalized.


Action Initiated

·         Notify all State of Illinois vendors to prepare for the potential of a longer delay in receiving payments for goods and services provided to the State.

Effective July 1, 2015

·         Suspend capital projects, including construction at state facilities, schools and colleges. 

·         Suspend all capital grants for legislators’ earmarks and non-bonded or “pay as you go” capital projects. 

·         This freeze does not include road and other Department of Transportation projects. 

·         Significantly reduce use of outside legal counsel by eliminating and/or reducing legal contracts.

Department of Healthcare and Family Services

Action Initiated

·         Reinstate timely re-determinations of Medicaid eligibility. 

·         Roll back rates for ambulance services and renal care services to SMART-Act levels.

·         Reduce managed care capitation rates.

·         Discontinue special Medicaid payments to some hospitals.

·         Increase eligibility threshold (Determination of Need Score) to a level more consistent with national eligibility levels.

·         Achieve cost savings using new procurement strategy for purchasing durable medical equipment.

Department of Natural Resources

Effective September 1, 2015

·         Suspend operations at the World Shooting Recreational Complex (WSRC) near Sparta.  The site will become closed to the public and not available for events. All events scheduled through August 2015, including the Grand American, will not be impacted by this action.

Department of Agriculture

Effective July 1, 2015

·         Suspend funding to county fairs for premiums and fairground rehabilitation projects.

·         Suspend funding for agricultural extension and 4-H clubs for premiums at agricultural shows.

·         Suspend funding for premiums for Agricultural Education Fairs.

·         Suspend funding for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service.

·         Suspend funding to the Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority

Effective July 1, 2015

·         Suspend funding to Choose Chicago for tourism promotion. 

Department of State Police

Effective July 1, 2015

·         Suspend FY16 initiative to purchase new forensic equipment.

Office of State Fire Marshal

Effective July 1, 2015

·         Suspend funding for the Chicago Fire Department training program.

·         Suspend reimbursements for fire department training to other local governments.

·         Suspend funding for small fire-fighting and ambulance equipment grants.

Criminal Justice Information Authority

Effective July 1, 2015

·         Suspend the following legislative earmarks:

o   YouthBuild grants;

o   Bullying Prevention grants;

o   Franklin County Methamphetamine Pilot Program; and

o   South Suburban Major Crimes Taskforce.

·         Suspend statewide funding for Operation CeaseFire.

·         Suspend funding for Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention grants.

Department of Human Services

Effective July 1, 2015

Suspend funding for Community Services for juvenile delinquency program serving youth and young adults administered by the Chicago Area Project. 

Suspend funding for Immigrant Integration Services.  Access to the Department’s programs will continue through local offices.

Suspend funding for Welcoming Centers. Access to the Department’s programs will continue through local offices.

Suspend funding for the Youth Employment legislative earmark.

Department of Public Health

Effective July 1, 2015

Suspend funding for Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV. 

Suspend funding to the Tobacco Quitline.

Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Effective July 1, 2015

Reduce funding for state-funded job training programs and suspend funding to legislative earmarks for job training.  This does not impact the Department’s federal job training funds. 

Suspend funding for all coal programs at the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, including discontinuing subsidies to coal companies.

Suspend funding for the Renewable Energy Program.  This does not impact the Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standards program. 

Suspend funding for the Energy Efficiency Program.

Department of Transportation

Effective July 1, 2015

·         Reduce funding for Amtrak.

·         Suspend state add-on payment to PACE.

·         Suspend state subsidy for Regional Transportation Authority Reduced Fares grant.

Department of Revenue

Effective July 1, 2015

·         Reduce funding for the following housing programs administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority:

o   Multifamily Finance Program;

o   Reduce Homebuyer Acquisition Rehabilitation Program; and

o   Reduce Homeowner Emergency Repair Program.

Department of Veteran’s Affairs

Effective July 1, 2015

·         Delay opening of Chicago Veterans’ Home.