(Springfield, IL) — June 1, 2011. Illinois’ new budget may spend less than Gov. Pat Quinn’s original proposal, but it is higher than this past year’s budget and was balanced by delaying the payment of billions of dollars in unpaid bills until this current fiscal year.
“The governor has been clear … that while we put our fiscal house in order, we must continue to protect core priorities,” said Kelly Kraft, Quinn’s budget spokeswoman.
Quinn is “reviewing” the budget’s impact on human services and schools statewide, Kraft said, which were among those items lawmakers trimmed to reduce spending from Quinn’s $36 billion to $33.2 billion.
(Springfield, IL) — May 24, 2011. Illinois treasurer Dan Rutherford cannot stop lawmakers from borrowing billions to pay the state’s backlog of unpaid bills, but he can make it more expensive — and that’s exactly what Rutherford says he plans to do.
Rutherford released his own report that states Illinois total debt would cost every household in the state $42,000. Rutherford arrived at the number by adding Illinois’ $140 billion in unfunded pension and health-care liabilities, the state’s $45 billion bond debt, and the nearly $8 billion in unpaid bills.
The treasurer said lawmakers must cut spending and live within their means in order for Illinois to pay off the debt.
“You can’t borrow anymore money,” said Rutherford. “And if I need to send letters to the rating companies to tell them the treasurer of Illinois is opposed to any more borrowing, I’ll go ahead and do that.”
Rutherford said alerting national rating agencies and bond houses could make it more expensive for Illinois to borrow. He said hopes that step would give lawmakers pause before asking for a billion dollars.
And while the state’s treasurer can only stop short-term borrowing, lawmakers are maneuvering to pass a measure through the General Assembly that would bypass any authority Rutherford has.
“I don’t have a vote on (the Senate plan),” said Rutherford. “If it’s long term, I can’t stop it.”
(Springfield, IL) – Gov. Pat Quinn and former Gov. Jim Edgar may have different political views, but Quinn is dealing with a similar, but bigger, challenge than Edgar tackled during his tenure as governor.
Edgar faced a nearly $2 billion deficit in 1991. Quinn assumed office in 2009, inheriting a more than $13 billion deficit. Edgar left office in 1999 with a $1.5 billion surplus, crediting his success to raising the temporary tax which later became permanent, cutting state spending and saying “no” to new programs.
“That took time, and it took discipline,” Edgar said. “The governor, I think, has to provide that leadership. It’s hard for the legislature to do that.”
(Springfield, IL) – As Illinois’ budget deadline approaches, the Illinois Senate could be the next fiscal battleground.
Fresh off of a two-week break, Illinois state senators on Monday returned to the Capitol to iron out the final details of a $30-billion-plus state spending plan.
“We’re going to pass a budget, and it will be a balanced budget,” said state Sen. William Haine, D-Alton, who added that he is confident the Senate would be done by the end of next week.
Exactly how to divide the state’s dollars, however, is in dispute.
State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, wants to see an agreement between the House and Senate that sets a price tag before lawmakers start spending.
“It is unfair to human service providers, state employees, universities to have both chambers pass a budget that is totally different and have each of them thinking that one or the other is going to be the realistic number,” Syverson said.
(Springfield, IL) — Illinois Senate Republicans and Democrats agree that cuts are a must to balance next year’s Illinois budget, but they argue over exactly how to do it.
After the Senate on Friday passed several measures to make payments to state pension funds, Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said they would have to slash about $1.2 billion from Gov. Pat Quinn’s $35.4 billion budget to balance the checkbook for the next fiscal year.
Cullerton said he wants to see lawmakers in the coming weeks suggest changes to the approximately 40 different pieces of legislation that make up Quinn’s proposed budget, a move Cullerton said would make the process more “open and transparent.”