Illinois budget

Some Budget Suggestions For The Winning Candidate For Governor

Sep 28, 2018
CARTER STALEY / NPR ILLINOIS

While debating, candidates offered no concrete suggestions for addressing fiscal problems but possibilities exist.

In today's fevered political climate, is it possible to have a serious discussion about possible ways to address the fiscal problems Illinois faces?

Not very likely, if one judges by the first debate among incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and his three challengers, Democrat J.B. Pritzker, Conservative candidate/Republican Sen. Sam McCann, and Libertarian Grayson "Kash" Jackson.

Susan Stephens

Matt Streb, chief of staff to Acting NIU President Lisa Freeman, says Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed allocation for higher education ignores even a minimal 1.9 percent increase requested by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Instead, it keeps cuts made in last summer’s budget deal.

“The [university] presidents,” he said, “including Acting President Freeman, have argued that the institutions in the state should revert to the Fiscal ‘15 year allocation, which was the last year that we had a full budget before FY ’18.”

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.

www.planetofsuccess.com/blog

Illinois has taken another step toward paying down nearly $16 billion in overdue bills.
That money is owed to hospitals, electric utilities, drug rehab centers — basically anyone who has a contract with state government.

The state began issuing bonds Tuesday, effectively refinancing the debt to cut interest penalties, but it will be a long road back to normal.

The Wisconsin Legislative Bureau said the recently-passed income tax hike in Illinois will cost Wisconsin more than $50 million in revenue over the next two years. Why?

Illinois and Wisconsin have an income tax reciprocity agreement.  

Without it, residents of one state who work in the other would have to first file in the state where they earn income, pay taxes on that income, and then file again in the state where they reside, claiming a credit for taxes already paid to the first state. 

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

The two-year Illinois budget impasse is over.

The House of Representatives voted Thursday to override gubernatorial vetoes, giving final approval to a $36 billion spending plan and $5 billion tax increase. The laws are retroactive to July 1, the start of the current fiscal year.

There was not a single vote to spare. Ten Republicans who defied Gov. Bruce Rauner joined with Democrats for the 71 votes needed to end the crisis -- the nation's longest since at least the Great Depression.

niu.edu

It’s all up to the Illinois House of Representatives.

Speaker Michael Madigan announced Wednesday that he will call a vote on whether to override the veto of the spending plan and supporting tax increase that both chambers approved over the weekend.

After Gov. Bruce Rauner’s swift rejection on Sunday, the state Senate came back and rejected the veto later that day. The House has not taken up the matter yet, due in part to member absences. But more on that later.

State of Illinois

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said Democrats are finalizing a proposed state budget plan and could present it to minority Republicans as soon as Tuesday.

Madigan and fellow Chicago Democratic Rep. Greg Harris would not discuss details but said they're devising a spending plan and revenue to pay for it. It might be ready for discussion at Tuesday's meeting of the four legislative leaders. 

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Thursday was the second of ten scheduled special sessions for the Illinois Legislature called by the governor to address the lack of a budget.

At least one northern Illinois lawmaker believes that the ball is not in his court, for the moment. State Sen. Steve Stadelman, D-Rockford, says that -- as far as he and his colleagues are concerned -- they’ve done their job, and people wanting action on the budget should look to the House and the governor.

BRIAN MACKEY / NPR ILLINOIS

One day after Illinois House and Senate Republicans unveiled a compromise plan to end the budget impasse, Gov. Bruce Rauner issued proclamations Thursday calling lawmakers back to Springfield for 10 days of special sessions starting Wednesday, June 21, to beat the June 30 fiscal-year deadline.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The partisan divide in Springfield seems wider than ever as Illinoisans brace for the start of another fiscal year without a budget. Lawmakers adjourned Wednesday without a spending plan. In this week’s Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Susan Stephens asked Rockford University Economics and Political Science Professor Bob Evans how we ended up here again.

State of Illinois

Today was the last day of the annual legislative session in the state capitol. It also happens to be the 700th day since Illinois last had a real budget.
Democrats – who hold a majority in both chambers of the General Assembly -- still aren’t saying whether they plan to do anything about that.
This is third year in which House Democrats have put themselves in this same position: going up to the end of session without a clear path on the budget.

Just over two weeks remain in the Illinois General Assembly’s spring legislative session. Lawmakers haven’t passed a full budget in more than two years.

And there are serious doubts about whether they’ll extend or break the streak before the session is scheduled to end May 31.

That would mean Democrats satisfying Gov. Bruce Rauner’s business and political agenda and Republicans agreeing on a series of tax hikes to begin stabilizing state finances.

State of Illinois

Illinois lawmakers are returning to the Capitol this week to resume work on trying to end the budget stalemate that has eluded them for almost two years.

The State Journal-Register reports that, just before lawmakers' two-week spring break, the House approved another stopgap spending bill that would give more than $800 million to human-services programs and higher education.

"Dentist" by Flickr User Travis Wise / (CC X 2.0)

With no budget, Illinois has racked up a $12 billion tab in unpaid bills and that number is growing. Among those still waiting for their checks: Dentists.

Dr. Ronald Lynch runs a family dentistry in Jacksonville. He says the money he’s waiting for is up to $170,000. How far behind is Illinois in paying Lynch?

“We are approximately at November of 2015," Lynch said.

That means a state worker went to see Lynch just after the Kansas City Royals won the World Series, and Lynch has only recently gotten paid for it.

State of Illinois

The Senate adjourned abruptly early Wednesday evening after Democrats and Republicans held private caucus meetings that lasted more than three hours.

 

A spokesman for Democratic Senate President John Cullerton issued a statement saying Senate leaders continue to discuss the massive compromise plan, and the Senate will return to session today.

Flickr user Pink Sherbet Photography / "Fizzy Purple Grape Soda" (CC v. 2.0)

Part of a potential compromise at the statehouse would make Illinois the first state with a tax on sugary drinks, like soda.

It’s among new legislation that’s meant to end the budget stalemate and bring in more tax dollars.

Just a few cities in the U.S., and Cook County have such a tax on the books. In past debates, opponents said a soda tax means a nanny state where the government tells people what’s bad for them.

FLICKR User Jim Bowen

Illinois Senate leaders are hoping to move swiftly on their pledge to advance a state-budget compromise by month's end.

The Democratic-controlled chamber has assigned 13 pieces of legislation for committee hearings that aim to break the two-year budget deadlock between legislative Democrats and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The proposals include an income tax increase and a hike in the minimum wage, but also attempt to satisfy Rauner's pro-business agenda with a property-tax freeze and restrictions on workers' compensation awards.

State government is projected to spend as much as 13 billion dollars more than it will collect in taxes this year. That's according to a recent report by the General Assembly's bipartisan budget analysts.  

Revenue manager Jim Muschinske notes that collection of sales tax has been essentially flat from July through November.  

“Seventy percent of the economy is driven by the consumer, so anytime they take a pause, it’s a little bit of a concern," he says. 

He also says there's low performance with income and corporate taxes.  

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

The Illinois Legislature today passed pieces of a stopgap budget deal between the governor and top legislative leaders to keep the state running and fund schools in the fiscal year that begins Friday.  The bills now head to the desk of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner for his signature.

The deal includes money to fund state services, colleges, prisons and road construction for the next six months. It also provides a full year of funding for elementary and secondary education, including money for financially struggling Chicago Public Schools. 

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner painted a bleak picture Monday morning of what could happen if a state budget is not passed before Friday.

But he gave some hope that a solution could be reached when the Illinois General Assembly returns to Springfield on Wednesday for the first time since the spring legislative session ended in May.

The Illinois Department of Transportation has begun informing contractors that all IDOT projects will begin shutting down starting June 30 if no state budget agreement is reached.

A statement attributed to IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn says the move is "due to the majority party in the legislature’s failure to pass a balanced budget."

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Lawmakers only have two days to pass a budget before a pending deadline.  But even as top leaders came out of a meeting Sunday saying that a deal is “possible,” it was clear the chances are woefully slim.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has danced around it before. But this time, he didn't flinch. He says if it gets to his desk, he will reject in its entirety the only spending plan currently alive in the statehouse: a plan House Democrats approved last week.

"That's the bill that has a $7 billion implied deficit in it,” he said. “I will veto that bill."

Amanda Vinicky/Illinois Public Radio

Union members flooded streets in front of the Illinois Statehouse to protest Gov. Bruce Rauner's agenda and what they say are his anti-labor policies.

Union workers marched to the Capitol for a rally, where they were joined briefly by a pair of prominent Democrats: House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton.

There was a time, in recent memory, that the labor movement wasn't all too fond of Madigan. Though he's a Democrat, he helped pass bills cutting government-worker pension benefits, and he's backed corporate tax breaks.

Illinois Times

Illinois is racking up more debt than even its comptroller knows about. Hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of bills are awaiting payment. They're part of a little-known program that has lawmakers asking questions.

Documents obtained by Illinois Public Radio show that, since November, the state owes businesses in the Vendor Support Initiative program more than $600 million. That doesn't include the 1 percent interest fee applied per month to bills over 90 days old under the Prompt Payment Act.

Homeless Youth Protest Lack Of State Funds

Apr 6, 2016

About 50 Illinois homeless youth and service providers essentially ambushed Gov. Bruce Rauner Tuesday. Their goal was to bring attention to a lack of state funding for job training, counseling and affordable housing.

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Illinois's overdue bills are 16 percent higher than previously reported. They could top ten billion dollars by end of the fiscal year.

   

 

Make Room and WNIJ News

More than one fourth of 736,000 renters in Illinois’ ten largest cities spend more than half their income for housing.

Some 207,000 renters -- or 28 percent -- spend more than half their household income on rent and utilities, a level which housing experts consider a “severe” burden. Statewide, 27 percent -- or 439,958 households -- pay unaffordable rent.

Among northern Illinois cities, the highest rate of severely burdened renters is in Rockford, with more than 28 percent --  8,600 of the estimated 30,400 renters in the third-largest city.

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Just days after vetoing a measure to help low-income college students, Gov. Bruce Rauner signaled he's open to another way to make it happen.

Rauner's reason for rejecting the Democrats' funding plan was that it would have sent Illinois deeper into debt.

But Rauner, a Republican, has said he'd be OK with an alternate GOP approach -- because it's paired with money to back it up. He says, however, that he will approve money for what are known as MAP grants (via the Monetary Award Program) if lawmakers loosen the rules under which government and universities make purchases.

Illinois Board of Higher Education

The budget that Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed this week recommends a 16 percent cut to higher education. This year's proposed cut sounds gentler than the 32 percent reduction Rauner recommended last year. But instead of being spread across higher education, virtually all of the pain would fall upon the state's universities. 

These proposed reductions come after higher education has gone without state funding of any kind for more than seven months.

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