Budget Impasse

  • Senate President presentation to Elmhurst College forum on March 31, 2017

    Senate President presentation to Elmhurst College forum on March 31, 2017Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton recently spoke at a government forum sponsored by Elmhurst College. His presentation was on the fiscal realities Illinois faces with its budget and why the state needs to get its backlog of unpaid bills under control.

    The following slides accompanied his speech and walk through where the state of Illinois gets its funding, where that funding goes, the true pressures facing the state budget and the devastating trajectory of the backlog of unpaid bills.

    The Senate President has been working on what’s been called a “Grand Bargain” to try to stabilize the state’s finances and enact key economic reforms.

    Read more: Senate President presentation to Elmhurst College forum on March 31, 2017

  • Hunter: It’s time to prioritize social service agencies (AUDIO)

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  • Urbana's Courage Connection losing ability to shelter, counsel domestic violence victims: Bennett

    dvpanel 040417 2SPRINGFIELD – For many abused women, domestic violence shelters are the last refuge from which they can begin to rebuild their lives. These very shelters, however, are now on the verge of closing due to the state’s historic budget impasse.

    One such shelter is the Urbana-based provider Courage Connection. The facility is the only domestic violence shelter in Champaign-Urbana. In December, the provider learned that the $600 million in the state’s stopgap budget did not include its funding.

  • Democrats reject Rauner’s empty promise of CPS funding, demand real money to fix his mistake

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    SPRINGFIELD — Months after Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a measure that would have secured funding for Chicago Public Schools, Illinois Senate Democrats rejected his attempt to promise $215 million to the school system without any funding source to provide it.

    “This measure would have made yet another promise to Chicago students without taking the necessary steps to ever follow through on it,” said Sen. Jacqueline Collins, D-Chicago. “We already approved a measure last year – which the governor saw fit to veto – that would have addressed this very problem in a responsible way, with the necessary funding. As it is, this is another broken promise in the making.”

  • Mulroe plan would save Illinois up to $1.8 billion

    Sen. John MulroeSPRINGFIELD – With ongoing negotiations to end Illinois’s historic budget impasse, State Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) has introduced a plan to examine the billions of dollars that the state gives away in tax credits every year.

    “Before increasing taxes and burdening the middle class, we must have an honest assessment of our budget priorities and examine every dollar the state is spending,” Mulroe said. “While many of the state’s tax credits benefit important components of our economy, we are facing a fiscal crisis and have to ensure that we create the best deal possible for taxpayers. Every dollar counts.”

  • McGuire calls for new budget compromise plan, higher ed funding

    Sen. Pat McGuire“We need progressive agendas like the one being put forth this morning.”

    SPRINGFIELD — With no direction from Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration on how it will address a lack of funding for higher education that has persisted since Jan. 1 in the absence of a state budget, Senate Higher Education Committee Chairman Pat McGuire called for cooperation on a new series of proposals aimed at breaking the state budget gridlock.

    Speaking alongside other lawmakers from the House and Senate, McGuire said the newly introduced Comeback Agenda is a necessary compromise at a time when universities and community colleges remain adrift and uncertain due to the governor’s refusal to discuss funding for the current fiscal year.

  • Budget impasse continues to hurt public transportation agencies

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  • Koehler: Governor’s office can’t explain how it would cut spending

    koehler 022817SPRINGFIELD – Members of the Illinois Senate are calling on their colleagues to focus solely on solving the state’s budget crisis after the governor managed to derail a bipartisan compromise.

    State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) says passing a budget should be everyone’s top priority.

    “Continuing to not have a budget is unacceptable,” said Koehler. “I do not know how the state can survive if we do not come to a reasonable compromise.”

    A budget agreement negotiated between Senate President John Cullerton and Minority Leader Christine Radogno appeared to be ready for voting on until the governor began calling off Republican senators, saying the legislation didn’t go far enough to cut spending.

    This week, Koehler and other committee chairs held hearings to allow agencies under the governor’s control to show where they could cut their budgets. Administration officials were unable to offer any specifics on how much they could cut.

    “Governor Rauner has never submitted a balanced budget to the General Assembly, something he is constitutionally required to do,” said Koehler. 

     

  • Rauner cabinet optimistic about grand bargain, Senator Holmes skeptical

    holmes 021617SPRINGFIELD -- State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, asked Illinois Department of Natural Resources Chief of Staff Brent Krebs why he and the department that he oversees remain optimistic about the passage of the grand bargain.

    “You said that you are optimistic with the governor’s office and his budget people working on the grand bargain, which he has now blown up three or four times,” Holmes said. “With the governor’s budget being $4.6 billion out of balance, I want to know why you feel that this can be rectified without cuts to agencies such as yours, which have been pretty much decimated.”

    Krebs responded that morale is still high in his department and that current budget woes have no effect on his optimism. “I maintain that an agreement can be reached,” Krebs said. “Without getting mired in the details of your negotiation, I’m convinced that we can get this thing done with some more negotiations.”

    “I wish I shared your optimism,” Holmes said.

    The bipartisan package of legislation known as the grand bargain was thrown off track last week when Gov. Rauner contacted Republican legislators and convinced them to vote against the package of interconnected proposals. Rauner’s move was a surprise to many, who pointed to the governor’s reliance on the framework’s revenue bills to close an almost $5 billion shortfall in his budget proposal and his public commentary praising the senate’s negotiations.

    “I think you’re going to have to look at some cuts unless we get the governor to decide that he’s going to come up with revenue increases or even negotiate,” Holmes told Krebs. “At this point, Rome is burning. We need to do something.”

  • Harris: Time for contingency plans, tough decisions

    harris 030917SPRINGFIELD — After two years of holding the Illinois budget hostage for political gain, Gov. Bruce Rauner now is faced with cutting an astounding $5 billion worth of state programs and services to balance the budget he presented to taxpayers last month.

    “We live in the real world where we have to be realistic. We need to think about contingency plans and moving forward,” said Senator Napoleon Harris III, a Harvey Democrat and chairman of the Senate’s Agriculture Committee. “From day one I have said we must work together to fix these issues. It’s going to take tough decisions by all to get this done.”

    Gov. Rauner has proposed a budget that is unbalanced by nearly $5 billion – a figure that was reinforced this week when the General Assembly’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accounting released an analysis that suggests the state’s revenues are $329 million lower than the governor’s February budget estimate, pushing his budget proposal further into the red.

    Yet during a series of Senate committee hearing this week, agency directors under the Rauner administration were unable or unwilling to identify cuts to personnel or programs that could enable the governor to bridge the gap. That includes representatives of the Illinois Department of Natural of Resources and the Illinois Department of Agriculture, both of whom appeared before the Senate Agriculture Committee.

    “We posed a simple question to these agencies: Where in your agency’s budget can you cut to help fill this $5 billion hole in the governor’s proposed statewide budget?” Harris said. “They were stonewalling, or they’ve never given it a thought. Either way, it’s a problem for the people of Illinois who deserve answers.”

  • McGuire calls for specifics in governor’s higher education proposal

    Senator Pat McGuireSPRINGFIELD — State Senator Pat McGuire, D-Joliet, chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, issued the following statement after Illinois universities testified at committee hearing today. Many said that a looming $4.6 billion budget deficit in the governor’s budget proposal threatens programs and staff.
     
    “I’m disappointed that thus far, Governor Rauner’s administration has presented a plan whose only detail seems to be that it will fall $4.6 billion short of its spending priorities,” McGuire said. “The governor’s unbalanced budget and systemic problems without remedies could be a death knell for universities in Illinois.”
     
    Representatives from Southern Illinois University testified that more cuts could bring an end to majors, minors or even whole departments and could imperil regional health services. Western Illinois University reported it is using available unrestricted funds and has cut jobs, pay and programs.
     
    On the possibility of further belt tightening, a representative of Governors State University said, “Our belt was gone in FY16,” and pointed out the university has already cut 22 programs and 62 positions, as well as imposed a 15 percent tuition increase.

  • Van Pelt questions Rauner’s public health director on budget cuts

    Senator Patricia Van PeltSPRINGFIELD – Even after cutting programs for AIDS, prostate cancer and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, the Illinois Department of Public Health still would need to cut an additional $20 million in programs to help balance the governor’s proposed budget, state senators learned Tuesday.

    “I’m stunned Gov. Rauner didn’t consult with his own public health director about cuts to vital programs that would be needed to balance his own budget plan,” said Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago), chairwoman of the Senate’s Public Health Committee.

    “Every state agency across the board would need to cut spending by 20 percent to achieve the balanced budget the governor wants. Those kinds of cuts in public health would have dire consequences, and people deserve to know what those cuts could be.”

    Members of the Public Health Committee heard from Illinois Public Health Director Nirav Shah, who identified $3.85 million in cuts – far less than the reductions needed to achieve the savings Gov. Rauner requires. Shah told the panel he could cut $3 million from the AIDS drug assistance program, $143,000 from a prostate cancer awareness fund, $470,000 from the University of Illinois-Chicago and $240,000 from the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome awareness program.

    The governor’s budget proposal includes $115 million for public health.

    “Gov. Rauner has been begging lawmakers to give him the authority to make line-item budget cuts. Clearly, he’s not up to the task,” Van Pelt said.

    Shah agreed to return to the committee next week with a list of $23 million in public health department cuts required to balance the governor’s proposed budget.

  • THE COST OF CHAOS RISING: RAUNER’S BUDGET GAP GROWS TO $5 BILLION

    Senators Harmon, Steans and ManarSenate Fiscal Heads Repeat Demand for Rauner to Get Out of the Way

    A state financial report released this week by the General Assembly’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) projects that state FY18 revenues are $329 million less than Governor Rauner’s estimates of $32.7 billion. The drop means that Rauner’s budget blueprint is unbalanced by nearly $5 billion.
     
    The Senate’s budget and revenue committee heads say the new estimates aren’t impossible to overcome, so long as the governor ends his behind-the-scenes antics that have derailed the Senate’s bipartisan compromises.
     
    Senator Toi Hutchinson (Chair of Senate Revenue Committee)
    “We know today that the governor’s budget is wildly out of balance - by $5 billion. That’s an alarming figure. What is abundantly clear is that not telling the truth about Illinois’ revenue crisis is disingenuous at best. The simple fact is part of the solution requires straightforward honesty with the public about the need for revenue.”   
     
    Senator Heather Steans (Chair of the Senate Appropriations I Committee)
    “There remains a determination to strike a compromise to provide what Illinois needs more than anything else right now: stability. Fiscal stability, stability for countless service providers and stability for our business community. Taking another few hundred million dollars out of the formula is a hurdle, but I’m confident we can complete the task to address Bruce Rauner’s $5 billion out-of-balance budget design. To make that task easier, it’s helpful if the governor ends his ideological meddling.”
     
    Senator Andy Manar (Chair of the Senate Appropriations II Committee)
    “The drop in revenue makes Bruce Rauner’s phony budget $5 billion out of whack and counting. Every day Bruce Rauner interferes, it adds $11 million dollars onto the growing pile of debt and makes his budget even more out of balance. The Senate remains committed to doing the job to fix the chaos the governor’s created.”

  • Holmes demands budget answers

    Senator Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD — In a Senate hearing with Acting Director Anna Hui of the Illinois Department of Labor, State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, asked what cuts could be made in the Department of Labor to close the $4.6 billion hole in Gov. Rauner’s out of balance budget proposal.

    “Being that the governor’s proposed budget was $4.6 billion out of whack and we’re now finding that that number might be more optimistic than it’s going to be, I would appreciate hearing from the department itself where you would be most willing to make those cuts,” Holmes said. “Where would you like to see those cuts if we are in a position where they have to be made?”

    “We are not in the position to speculate about where those cuts might come from,” Hui said, to which Holmes replied: “Okay. Let’s call that nonresponsive.”

    This week, Sen. Holmes and her fellow Democrats in the Senate have asked more than ten heads of state agencies what they would do should they be asked to cut their agencies’ budgets. In this year’s budget proposal, Gov. Rauner put forward a plan that spends $4.6 billion more than it collects in revenue. Rauner’s FY 18 budget proposal relies on the General Assembly to close this $4.6 billion gap by proposing new revenues or making cuts.

    “Gov. Rauner has been asking the General Assembly to give him the authority to make budget cuts for months. I would expect the governor’s agency heads to have some cuts already in mind,” Holmes said. “Clearly that is not the case.”

    Director Hui is one of at least ten other state agency directors who have appeared before the Illinois Senate this week. None have suggested ways to close the $4.6 billion gap.

  • How did we get here? A 2016-17 budget timeline

    budget timeline2Illinois’ budget stalemate has taken a number of twists and turns. From Governor Rauner’s first session in office, when he total vetoed 21 of the 23 budget-related measures to the expiration of a stopgap budget at the end of 2016, it has been a complicated two years.

    The process has people unsure what the legislature has done and attempted to do throughout this time. This timeline outlines important points throughout the impasse, what has happened since the spring of 2016 and where we are today.  (click on image to enlarge)

  • Koehler joins Senate colleagues to end budget impasse

    koehler 022817SPRINGFIELD – Members of the Illinois Senate voted to pass parts of a comprehensive package of legislation meant to end the historic two-year budget impasse. The legislation, commonly known as the “grand bargain,” was the result of months of negotiations between Senate President John Cullerton and Minority Leader Christine Radogno.

    State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) voted for the legislation.

    “The people contacting my office have made it clear that they want us to do our jobs and pass a budget,” Koehler said. “This two-year impasse has been long enough; it is time to act.”

    The measures in the grand bargain include a plan to address the state’s budget deficit, local government consolidation measures and a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year.

     

  • It's time to cut a deal

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