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Your assignment for today - Build a budget *** UPDATED w/Roundup ***

Tuesday, Mar 31, 2009

* The folks at have done it again. Their latest Web app allows you to build your own state budget.

You don’t get to go down to the line item level on every state agency, but you get to make changes to quite a few items in budgets for the State Board of Education, Corrections, Human Services, Aging, and others.

We’re talking about bringing the Wonkish folks over here to the front page so that we can have better access to their projects. Stay tuned on that.

Anyway, have a go at the app and tell us how you did.

Forgot to add the budget roundup…

* Several Ways to Tackle Illinois’ Budget Deficit: CULLERTON: There’s a whole bunch of different alternatives to this that we’re certainly open to, it could be temporary, we could borrow the three billion dollars and pay it off in a couple of years if that’s what people want to do, so we’re very open to people with suggestions.

* Quinn eyes community college building projects in budget

* Clinton, Eureka would lose Human Services offices under Quinn plan: A full list of the proposed closures released Monday shows no lost jobs among workers, but their commutes could lengthen

* Five Southern Illinois human services offices to close

* Thomson prison supporters to rally in Illinois
: Even though money for Thomson Correctional Center wasn’t included in the governor’s proposed budget, supporters will hold an informational rally Saturday in hopes of changing the situation.

* Editorial: Sales tax holiday: Regardless, though, a back-to-school holiday could result in more students being more ready to learn. And it would be a real break for working families, coping with everything from the day care years to college costs.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - George - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 9:52 am:

    holy cannoli

  2. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 9:53 am:

    Only time for a first glance, but I noticed that it doesn’t give the whole budget picture. To balance the budget (if I so desire), I need to know how much revenue is available for GRF expenditures. Without that, I cannot really start.

    The Quinn documents link indicates $27 billion, but some of that will have to go to pensions, and I do not know how much. I also don’t know how much needs to go to other non-GRF expenses.

    In addition, the top indicates the need to cut $12 billion. That is the two-year projected deficit, so should I try to balance FY 10 before trying to clear out the FY 09 one?

    Bottom line: what is my target? I realize that is part of the problem, but still…

  3. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 9:55 am:

    I whacked $10,000,000 mostly from education and other agencies. Also lots of grant programs got the chop.

  4. - Wumpus - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 10:00 am:

    Wow, wonkish to say the least! I cut 25% off of Education as a lot is redundant and we can save money by renegotiating contracts and other empty sayings.

    BOE - 2500000 - save
    Eliminate aging, save 1mil for Wumpus family memeber jobs
    Cut DOHS by 2,100,000
    Cut DCFS by 499,000
    DHFS will assume the roles of DOA, DHS and DCFS.

  5. - How Ironic - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 10:01 am:

    Neat ap, but a bit simplistic. I think for every cut people want to make they should also get a call from the group they are affecting.

    It’s very easy to make cuts without any ramifications, or fully understanding what exactly they are cutting.

    Also, some of this money is tied up with federal matching grants. So, if we cut say $5m, we may be missing out on $25M in Federal $$.

    Again, neat toy, but doesn’t really give people a feel for legitimate budget planning.

  6. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 10:03 am:

    ===I think for every cut people want to make they should also get a call from the group they are affecting.===

    Great idea!!!

    The app is evolving. I’m sure the comments will help. So, with that in mind, let’s all try to keep the criticisms on a constructive level. Thanks.

  7. - montrose - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 10:06 am:

    I agree with How Ironic. Some line items names give you next to no idea what they actually fund, so cutting them may seem nice and simple, but most things are nice and simple in the abstract.

    The federal matching grant is a huge issue. You need to know the reverberations of your cut on other revenue streams.

    You also need a revenue side. What happens with different tax increases and exemptions/credits?

  8. - George - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 10:06 am:

    “DHFS will assume the roles of DOA, DHS and DCFS.”

    So, did you account for the extra $3 billion worth of services HFS will now have to provide that are required by law?

    These aren’t “staff” budgets. This is total cost.

  9. - Sewanee - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 10:15 am:

  10. - Pat collins - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 10:20 am:

    My Id is 1069.

    I cut $1,213,034,000

    Some were easy, but many I left alone since it looked like they were “matching” so you’d lose more by cutting, or you could not cut them, legally.

  11. - How Ironic - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 10:21 am:


    My comment was constructive, and not snarkish. People want to “Make a Budget” but don’t want the consequence of their actions to come back to roost. Want to cut DCFS out of the budget…go for it! In this app, there are not consequences.

    Making a budget involves A LOT of interaction. This only makes it easier for arm-chair OMB employees to “pretend” that they can actually craft a workable budget. This just gives the impression that the state budget is crafted with some sliding bar, and viola…it’s done.

    And that isn’t how it works. No more than using Microsoft Flight Simulator for a few minutes will qualify me to fly a plane load of passengers anywhere tomorrow.

  12. - George - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 10:24 am:

    “How Ironic” - I think the point is that this makes all those people who say they can easily cut $12 billion from the budget actually go and show where, albeit generally.

    If you say you can do it, go to the budget app, slide some bars to show us how, and then, most importantly, put the share link back on here so everyone else can congratulate/ridicule you.

    Kind of a “Put up or shut up” kind of tool.

    My put up or shut up:
    I was only able to cut $352 million more at my worst -

  13. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 10:32 am:

    I didn’t say you did, HI. I just asked people to keep it high-minded. That’s all.

  14. - Louis G. Atsaves - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 10:34 am:

    Missed one billion in cuts by $6 million. Included full funding of all pensions listed.

    Does this make me a Freddie Krueger?

  15. - Heartless Libertarian - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 10:36 am:

    Okay, I got as heartless as I could. Looking at a 29 billion budget, I wanted to cut about 4… I got close… 3.6 billion dollars cut out. Now, are they really expecting us to cut the budget in half… because I can do that… it wouldn’t make any sense, but I could do it.

  16. - Princess - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 10:50 am:

    wow, I have no idea of some of what I just pitched out the door. Might have been lots of vital arms and legs slashed. Too chicken to share, but out went an additional 1.2 billion.

  17. - Sen Brady? - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 11:27 am:

    So, it seems to be a heck of a lot harder to cut 12 billion out of the budget than some make it seem.

  18. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 1:27 pm:

    As I said above, the 12 billion is a two-year figure. The cuts need be be in the 6 to 7 billion range to balance the 2010 budget. Surpluses could be used to pay off the existing debt.

    My plan increases education, esp. the direct aid to schools and offsets it with cuts to just about everything else. I ended up cutting a few large items and then by rounding down most of the other lines. I only saved $38 million overall, but I have been advocating a tax increase, and I still think we need one.

  19. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 1:59 pm:

    I managed to “cut” about $250M, and there will be a lot of pain even with this modest amount of cutting. One thing I looked for were programs I believe could be funded by the nonprofit sector. There are some, but not nearly enough. I also tried to cut roughly 3% from the personnel lines, which probably isn’t possible in some cases, such as those with collective bargaining units.

    I also zeroed out all of the ethics commissions. They clearly aren’t working, so why bother funding them?

    Noticed too how Quinn has already cut in many places, especially pensions.

  20. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 3:09 pm:

    What if the core services are education, police and corrections, transportation, and state properties (DNR stuff)? And, what if we buy into the notion that the state should not pay for human, health, and family services? It balances, but I wouldn’t want to live here…

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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