budget impasse

Peter Medlin

About a mile away from Northern Illinois University’s campus in DeKalb, a nice 2-story house on the corner of Woodlawn Drive is vacant. The only sign of wear in sight is on a small metal sign in the freshly cut yard where the address is slowly rusting away. 

Built in 1955, this house has been home to the presidents of NIU. But, when Dr. Lisa Freeman was hired last year, she already had a home in DeKalb.

Logo design by Spencer Tritt

Rich Egger, news director at Tri States Public Radio in Macomb, joins us for a special edition episode of Teachers’ Lounge. Public radio stations across the state collaborated on our “Enrollment Exodus” series chronicling enrollment challenges facing Illinois colleges and universities, especially since the 2015-2017 state budget impasse.

Members of the Illinois Board of Higher Education are satisfied with how higher ed fared in the new state budget passed by Illinois lawmakers.

For several years, Illinois higher ed officials have been fighting their way out of the hole dug during the two-year budget impasse.

But they say the budget, passed by the General Assembly, is a big improvement. Nyle Robinson is the Higher Education Board’s Interim Executive Director.

“...major steps in repairing the damage," he said. "In fact, this is arguably the best session for higher education in a generation."

It’s been a rough couple of years for Illinois community colleges, from the slashed funds of the budget impasse to concerning enrollment declines. This is the final installment of a three-part series on how these very different schools have stayed afloat by embracing change and, more importantly, putting the "community" in community college.

 

The Kishwaukee table tennis club's practice is in full swing. They're preparing for a tournament coming up soon.

 

It’s been a rough couple of years for Illinois community colleges, from the slashed funds of the budget impasse to concerning enrollment declines. This is part two in a three-part series on how these very different schools have stayed afloat by embracing change and, more importantly, putting the community in community college.

 

File Photo by Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

An Illinois county coroner's practice of holding remains and death certificates of the indigent until their families can pay for burial is "disgusting behavior," state Comptroller Susana Mendoza said Tuesday.

BRIAN MACKEY / NPR ILLINOIS

Passing a state budget is arguably the most important thing the Illinois General Assembly does every year — or at least should do every year.

After last year's drama — when a two-year standoff ended with a Republican revolt against Governor Bruce Rauner — it's an open question about how things will go this year.

So I set out to answer a simple question: Will there be another impasse?

The question may sound simple, but the answer, like most things in state government, is complicated.

GOOGLE MAPS

The Illinois Department of Corrections says a major cash crunch has it struggling to keep its facilities running.

The warning came Wednesday at a Senate budget hearing. But some Democratic lawmakers say that was the first time they were hearing the situation was so dire.

On a summer day in 2016, state prison officials were on the brink of a crisis at Western Illinois Correctional Center.

GotCredit.com/CC 2.0

Higher-education leaders are watching Springfield closely as lawmakers consider what to do about next year’s budget.

Southern Illinois University President Randy Dunn says there are lots of political options on the table.
 

CANDIDATES' CAMPAIGNS

How would contenders for the state's top legal office have handled the budget stalemate?

One of the limitations of modern political debates is that candidates are usually only asked what they'll do. But in this era of political dysfunction and governmental obstruction, it can be just as important to know what a candidate might choose not to do.

BRIAN MACKEY / NPR ILLINOIS

A national study of state government budgeting gives Illinois low marks.  

It's no surprise to see Illinois fare poorly when it comes to finances.  A two year budget impasse created even more problems.

"It's hard to gauge the success of the budget in Illinois when you didn't have one," said Bill Glasgall with the non-partisan Volcker Alliance, which conducted the analysis titled "Truth And Integrity In State Budgeting: What is The Reality?"

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Five DeKalb-area panelists took part in an Illinois Issues discussion earlier this week about the effects of the two-year Illinois budget impasse and the state’s financial future. That’s the subject of this week's WNIJ Friday Forum.

Illinois was without a state budget for two years. That ended in early July when lawmakers overrode Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto.  It was a huge relief to schools, social service agencies, and programs that rely on state funding. But celebrations were tempered by the reality of the state’s fiscal situation.

Gov. Rauner Authorizes State Borrowing Plan

Sep 13, 2017
Phil Masterton / WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is authorizing a major borrowing plan to pay down part of the state’s nearly $15 billion backlog of bills.

Lawmakers approved a state budget over Rauner’s veto earlier this summer, which called for borrowing $6 billion. Rauner waited about two months to authorize that borrowing, racking up even more late fees for all the unpaid bills.

 

In an interview with WBEZ, Rauner said the budget still is not balanced, but he wants to bring discipline to the state’s finances.

Even though a state budget was finally passed earlier this summer, the process for paying allocated funds is not automatic. Social service agencies are waiting for money owed to them by the state.

EIU

Illinois has tapped nearly $700 million in existing funds to make the first payment to colleges and universities they've received in seven months.

Comptroller Susana Mendoza announced the payment Thursday.

It includes $327 million owed for the needs-based Monetary Award Program for 110,000 college students for the past school year.

The Democrat made the announcement in Charleston. She presented a nearly $6 million payment to Eastern Illinois University President David Glassman.

Gov. Rauner Aims To Send Message With Staff Shakeup

Jul 13, 2017
NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner failed to get much of his budget requests in the recent legislative session. Now there's fallout in the top ranks of his administration.  

Less than a week after the legislature overrode the governor's vetoes -- passing a budget and tax increase -- Rauner dismissed his Chief of Staff, Communications Director and others.  

A credit ratings agency has removed Illinois from a credit watch since legislators approved a budget and ended a more than two-year impasse.

S&P Global Ratings said Wednesday the outlook on debt ratings is stable. 

Illinois has the lowest credit rating of any state and agencies had warned of another downgrade to “junk'' status if lawmakers didn't approve a budget. The stalemate between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrat-controlled Legislature began in 2015. This month, legislators approved a budget with an income tax increase over Rauner's vetoes. 

"cheque" by Flickr User Tina Franklin / (CC X 2.0)

The state of Illinois has officially given human resources departments the information they need to start deducting more from workers' paychecks.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the Illinois Department of Revenue on Tuesday issued a release with specific details of implementing changes that accountants and employers need to enact the income tax hike that lawmakers approved last week.

The individual income tax rate is now 4.95 percent, up from 3.75 percent. Corporations will pay 7 percent instead of 5.25 percent. It is retroactive to July 1 of this year.

Wikipedia

The controversial override vote Thursday was delayed by about two hours when the capitol was put on lockdown, due to reports of a woman throwing or spilling an unknown substance near the governor’s office and other locations.

The woman’s name has not been released, but she is well-known to several people in the statehouse, and is an education advocate.

That’s according to Letitia Dewith-Anderson, a lobbyist who says she has known the woman for a couple of years; she bumped into her being escorted by police out of an elevator.

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Illinois’ two-year budget impasse is over. The House of Representatives on Thursday overrode the governor's budget veto, giving final approval to a spending plan and tax increase.

After two years of stalemate, more than a dozen Republicans broke with Gov. Bruce Rauner.

They joined Democrats to pass a $5-billion dollar tax increase.

The governor had been holding out for his business-friendly agenda, but some Republicans, like Rep. David Harris, from Arlington Heights, say time’s up.

The Two-Year Illinois Budget Impasse Is Over

Jul 6, 2017
Jenna Dooley

The Illinois House has voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's vetoes of a budget package. The action Thursday gives Illinois its first annual spending plan since 2015. 

The House voted to override the Republican governor's veto of a $5 billion increase in income taxes and a $36 billion spending plan. 

The veto overrides mean the nation's longest state budget crisis since at least the Great Depression has ended. The budget is retroactive to July 1 _ the start of the fiscal year. That's also the date that the 32 percent increase in the personal income tax rate takes effect. 

Dusty Rhodes/NPR Illinois

More than a dozen school leaders from across Illinois gathered at the state capitol Wednesday to thank lawmakers who went out on a limb to raise taxes and send more money to schools. They held signs and banners saying “thank you.” However, gratitude wasn’t their only motive.

If you deal with children, you're probably familiar with the concept of positive reinforcement. You reward children for good behavior as a way to encourage them to continue doing it.

Phil Masterton / WNIJ

Two key Republicans in the Illinois House say they will continue supporting an income-tax increase over their governor's veto.

Rep. David Harris of Arlington Heights and Rep. Steven Andersson of Geneva were among 15 Republicans who bucked Gov. Bruce Rauner and helped provide a veto-proof majority for an income-tax increase of 1.2 cents per dollar. The hike is intended to help Illinois dig out of the nation's longest budget crisis since at least the Great Depression.

Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

More than a dozen school superintendents gathered in the statehouse today to thank lawmakers who went out on a limb to raise taxes and send more money to schools.

That gratitude was also their way of nudging lawmakers not to change their votes Thursday, when the House of Representatives will try to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s budget veto.

Jeff Craig, superintendent of Aurora West schools, admonished lawmakers with something a teacher might tell students about their classroom or playground.

Jenna Dooley

The Illinois Senate took action Tuesday meant to end a two-year budget stalemate. 

After two years of no budget and under threat of “junk bond” status, Democrats finally convinced enough Republican lawmakers to break with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

What would be the state’s first full budget in years includes an unpopular income tax increase.

Dale Righter of Mattoon is the only Republican senator who was persuaded to vote for it.

Jenna Dooley

The Illinois Senate is expected to vote on a full budget today.

That’s after the House passed a spending plan and a tax increase over the weekend to try and end the two-year long impasse.

In the House, 15 Republicans went against Gov. Bruce Rauner and voted yes.

But it’s not a given that the Senate has the votes to pass it.

Senate Democrats already passed a budget. It included more spending than the plan they’re set to consider today.

Senate Republicans opposed that budget - and the question now is whether they’ll oppose this one too.

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

Two of three major bond-rating firms have chimed in with a positive note on the financial outlook for Illinois.

S&P Global Ratings issued a notice Monday that a House vote to raise $5 billion through an income-tax increase "represents a meaningful step toward the enactment of a comprehensive budget."

Illinois has been without a budget for two years. It has a $6.2 billion deficit and backlogged bills total $14.7 billion. The major credit agencies had warned of a downgrade to "junk" status without swift action.

Jenna Dooley/WNIJ

Illinois lawmakers are back to work after a dramatic vote in the House to increase income taxes.

Attention turns Monday to the Senate, where lawmakers will consider the budget measures approved by the House a day earlier.

The Illinois House of Representatives approved an increase in the state income tax Sunday that will bring the personal tax rate to 4.95 percent. Corporations would pay 7 percent instead of 5.25 percent.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

The budget measure, Senate Bill 6, voted on in the Illinois House Friday, while not yet the final word, outlines funding for all aspects of state government operations, goods, services, grants, projects and more.

Illinois will enter its third straight fiscal year without a budget plan in place.

The state House of Representatives adjourned its Friday special session, falling short of a solution to the state budget impasse before a midnight deadline. But they’re due back Saturday.

In a sign that negotiations are progressing, Republicans and Democrats advanced a measure that could serve as the spending plan for a budget, if a deal is reached.

Pages