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Countdown to the budget announcement

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010

* Doug Finke has a very good article today about the upcoming budget announcement

From the disabled who need help to stay in their homes to school districts trying to balance their own budgets, people who rely on state spending are bracing for Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget scalpel.

Quinn said Monday he’s preparing to deal with the proposed spending plan approved by lawmakers last month and that cuts are coming, although he did not specify where they will land.

Some examples…

“What we’re hearing is the administration is seriously considering cutting the home care program, cutting hours and cutting people off the program,” said SEIU communications director Brynn Siebert. “It costs three times as much to keep a person in an institution as at home.” […]

Don Moss, a lobbyist who works on behalf of mental health and developmental disabilities organizations, said he’s hearing from providers that their contracts with the state to provide services are being cut.

And the teachers’ union isn’t thrilled, either…

“We think this is a budget built on quicksand. Regardless of what numbers they put in the budget book, the funding doesn’t exist to fund education at that level,” Comerford said.

Go read the whole thing. Here’s more from Don Moss

Hints of what Gov. Pat Quinn has in store for budget cuts are coming in paper work for local human services. Don Moss, executive director of United Cerebral Palsy of Illinois, says providers are returning grant and fee-for-service contract papers for Wednesday’s midnight deadline, and they’re finding that some grants have been wiped out.

Moss says services for the people with developmental disabilities, mental illness and addictions will all be affected, although he says services that are Medicaid-eligible will be in the best shape. He says for grant programs, some services will see a three-to-six month reprieve, while others will receive nothing.

* Meanwhile

Republican lawmakers in Springfield are getting in their “I told you so’s” now that Congress has balked at extending federal stimulus funding.

Including in the sweeping plans in Washington, D.C., was about $700 million which was earmarked in the new state budget for a continuing enhanced Medicaid match. But the so-called FMAP money — Federal Medical Assistance Percentage – is not coming in time for the start of Illinois’ new fiscal year on Thursday. […]

GOP lawmakers say the extra Medicaid money should never have been included in the Democratic written budget.

State Rep. Patti Bellock, R-Hinsdale, said Quinn wanted the most optimistic numbers he could find, and now the state is going to have to pay the price.

Keep in mind, however, that the House Republicans did not propose a single appropriations bill or amendment to address this problem.

* And be mindful while reading the following story that the governor and AFSCME negotiated a deferral of half its 2 percent pay hike until July of 2011. They’re getting a one-point bump now

Despite a state budget that is billions of dollars out of whack, more than 46,000 state workers will see bigger paychecks on Thursday.

Judges, prison guards, welfare office workers and mental health specialists will see raises and cost-of-living adjustments worth an estimated $105.6 million.

For some lawmakers, the raises are an example of why the state is in such dire financial straits.

“I just think it shows how Gov. Quinn isn’t serious about getting a handle on this problem,” said state Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth.

* Speaking of the Republicans, House GOP Leader Tom Cross has penned a response to Speaker Madigan’s Daily Southtown op-ed…

Since Democrats took total control of Illinois government in 2003, our credit ratings have been downgraded 11 times, the most in Illinois history. A report released recently by CMA Datavision identified Illinois as one of 10 sovereign governments most at risk of default. We are ahead of California and the nation of Portugal. Our financial woes extend beyond the borders of the U.S.A.

Eleven times? Yikes.

* Related and a roundup…

* ADDED: Senator Dave Syverson Makes Outrageous Budget Blooper

* Ill. to begin new fiscal year with deficit, debt

* A disappointing look behind the curtain

* Advocates push to spare services for disabled from budget ax

* New laws kick in Thursday : Almost 50 new laws will hit the books July 1, and they range from high-profile issues state lawmakers fought over to small changes that you may never notice.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


37 Comments
  1. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 11:29 am:

    “Keep in mind, however, that the House Republicans did not propose a single appropriations bill or amendment to address this problem.”

    Why is it the responsibility of the minority party to fix problems the majority party chooses to ignore?


  2. - not sure - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 11:31 am:

    “Why is it the responsibility of the minority party to fix problems the majority party chooses to ignore?”

    because last time i checked yelling doesnt solve budget problems either…


  3. - Downstater - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 11:35 am:

    My understanding is that the Republican leaders haven’t been included in any budget meetings with Quinn, Madigan or Cullerton in a VERY LONG TIME.


  4. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 11:40 am:

    A vehicle bill was left open for about two or three weeks for any GOP approp amendments. Not one was filed.


  5. - cassandra - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 11:41 am:

    I’d want to understand what services are and are not Medicaid-eligible, per Moss’ statement. If they are not Medicaid (or Medicare) eligible, why not.Is this an eligibility issue, or a scope of service issue. Are agencies billing appropriately or taking the easy way out and billing everything to the state of Illinois, even if the services are federally eligible. Are services means-tested? Do we differentiate between basic, critical services and extra services that somebody thinks would be a nice idea. We all want to do right by special needs populations but that doesn’t mean that we have to assume that all the monies dedicated to them are spent wisely,especially in one of the nation’s most corrupt and poorly managed states.

    Advocates for special needs populations always complain about the miserly taxpayer, that is,
    the middle class who would have to pay most of the freight of a tax increase. But in light
    of today’s news about $100 million or so in unionized employee raises, perhaps they should be asking how the unions managed to exempt their members from any “shared sacrifice” at all. There may be other villains in this long, long story. Our Pat’s symbiotic relationship with employee unions, public and private, is worth a look.


  6. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 11:45 am:

    cassandra,

    You have hit upon one of my favorite topics, and one which few politicians discuss: What is the proper role of government? Your first paragraph begins to explore the proper roll. Now add a discussion of where the line of fairness is drawn between the taxpayers right to keep his own money, and the need for the taxpayer to provide some funds for the commonweal. Would that not be a great debate to witness among politicians?


  7. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 11:57 am:

    - one which few politicians discuss: What is the proper role of government? -

    What insane world do you live in that this isn’t one of the most discussed issues between politicians?


  8. - Secret Square - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 12:06 pm:

    “What insane world do you live in”

    Of course politicians discuss the “proper role of government” all the time. The trouble is that — at least in the view of Cincinnatus and most conservatives — they assume the question to be asked is always whether government should expand its role, and by how much. They rarely, if ever, seem to consider whether or not government has gone too far and needs to shrink or contract its role so as to protect the “taxpayer’s right to keep his/her own money.” There needs to be a “line of fairness” but too often politicians (of both parties) are afraid to even discuss moving that line any significant distance.


  9. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 12:10 pm:

    Since Democrats took total control of Illinois government in 2003, our credit ratings have been downgraded 11 times, the most in Illinois history. A report released recently by CMA Datavision identified Illinois as one of 10 sovereign governments most at risk of default. We are ahead of California and the nation of Portugal. Our financial woes extend beyond the borders of the U.S.A.

    And that is not all. Democrats released Asian Carp into our state’s streams and rivers. Since they took control over Illinois government, Illinois has suffered through two droughts, eighteen floods, 324 tornados, and six forest fires. That was in 2003.

    In 2004, Illinois dropped five hundred feet in elevation, causing the Mississippi River to flood our state. The Democrats used this crisis to raise boat taxes and forced the cost of yachts to skyrocket when then-Governor Blagojevich signed a state contract mandating all Illinoisans to purchase from yachts from one supplier.

    By 2005, Illinois suffered six epidemics, twelve head-on train crashes, and a zepplin explosion over Danville.

    The list goes on!


  10. - Aldyth - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 12:12 pm:

    One of the issues for human services agencies is that not everyone is eligible for Medicaid funded services. It could be because they already receive help from one Medicaid funded program and the other program, which was grant funded and now is Medicaid funded, leaves them with a choice of only one service. Getting two services is considered double dipping.

    Say that you get services from what was a state grant funded sheltered Supported Employment Program that enables you to hold down a job.

    At night, you have a Medicaid funded worker through the Department of Rehabilitation Services who helps you to cook, clean, do laundry, etc. These two sets of services keep you out of a nursing home - which is three or four times the tax dollars than are being spent now.

    You have to give up one set of services. Most likely, it will be the job. The extra dollars that were helping you to balance your budget are now gone. All you have to live on is that government check. Since heating assistance has been cut, you get a choice of heat or food. These are the kinds of choices people with disabilities will have.

    There are families where both parents work. Their adult son or daughter has a job bagging groceries that is supported by a grant-funded supported employment program. The grant funding goes away and their family member isn’t eligible for medicaid.

    That means that their family member is now going to be sitting home all day without supervision unless one of them quits their job or they hire a babysitter.

    These are the kinds of choices people will be faced with. Too many won’t make it without support services and then we’ll see homelessness, police involvement, or institutionalization at many times the cost of community services.


  11. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 12:12 pm:

    - they assume the question to be asked is always whether government should expand its role, and by how much. -

    Are you kidding me? Bush and company stripped away tons of government regulation. Republicans fall all over each other talking about removing regulations. I can’t watch 30 seconds of cable news without hearing something Obama wants referred to as socialism. You people need to get a clue.


  12. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 12:17 pm:

    Secret Square,

    “They rarely, if ever, seem to consider whether or not government has gone too far and needs to shrink or contract its role so as to protect the “taxpayer’s right to keep his/her own money.” There needs to be a “line of fairness” but too often politicians (of both parties) are afraid to even discuss moving that line any significant distance.”

    Conservatives who ask the question about how much the government should expand is no conservative to me. You are framing the exact argument that I’d like to see, how can government be reduced to its proper role, and what is that role.

    I think a simple way to approach this would be to eliminate 50,000 pages of laws, rules, regulations, addenda and other byproducts of the legislative process each year for the next ten years.


  13. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 12:28 pm:

    Cincinnatus, yeah, that’ll work


  14. - Secret Square - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 12:28 pm:

    Just to be clear, I presume this “budget announcement” will be the guv’s amendatory/item veto message concerning HB 859 and any other approp bills for FY11?


  15. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 12:29 pm:

    No.


  16. - FedUpStateEmployee - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 12:30 pm:

    VanMan…..priceless!


  17. - Secret Square - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 12:35 pm:

    It isn’t? That bill is on Quinn desk right now and he’s gotta deal with it pretty soon. Is he going to let that bill sit while waiting for a resolution on the pension issue?


  18. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 12:45 pm:

    From what I understand, this is about what he’s gonna do with his new Emergency Budget Act powers.


  19. - Montrose - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 12:47 pm:

    *It isn’t? That bill is on Quinn desk right now and he’s gotta deal with it pretty soon. Is he going to let that bill sit while waiting for a resolution on the pension issue?*

    It will be him allocating the lump sum he was given, pointing out how much worse the cuts are because they have not passed the pension borrowing bill.


  20. - Double D - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 1:19 pm:

    Last time I checked we elected ALL of them…Dem or GOP to deal with this mess, but all have failed. So why don’t we quit the blame game and roll up our sleeves to deal with this problem. Good luck gov, I hope you slash a number of things and maybe, just maybe the people will begin to understand the role of limited government. If you want service they must be paid for period.


  21. - lincolnlover - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 1:34 pm:

    Cassandra - You are correct to expect shared sacrifice from state employees. However, from the point of view of 22 years with the state of Illinois, we have been sacrificing for many years. You just have not been aware, or cared. I mean that in a polite way, because, unless I worked here, I probably wouldn’t have cared either. It started with Jim Edgar. He cut state employement by about 10% (Not exact figures). Perhaps that was the right thing to do, but,since then, there has been a policy of cutting by attrition. When I started here, my agency had 245 employees. We now have 115. There were 6 employees at my location. Now there are 2. When one of us retires this year, they will not be replaced. I will be doing the work of 6 people. Employee count has been going down, but it hasn’t made any headlines. I pay my dental and health insurance each paycheck, along with my required pension contribution of 4%. I am still waiting to be reimbursed for the root canal I had 6 months ago and, for at least 10 years, the state has played around with my pension contribution instead of putting it into my retirement fund. They have used the money from employees insurance and pension funds to pay for other programs instead of raising taxes of finding proper revenue channels. Now, they are so far behind, that they want to blame employees for asking for their own money back. So from my point of view state employees have and will continue to “share” the pain.


  22. - MrJM - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 1:43 pm:

    I can hardly wait for the budget to be released!

    I’m a huge fan of Political Science Fiction.

    Edgar Rice Burroughs’s “John Carter, Defense Undersecretary of Mars” series got me hooked as a kid and Bradbury’s “SB 451″ is, of course, a classic of the genre.

    Many aficionado swear by Frank Herbert’s “President Pro Tempore of Dune,” but if you have a hankering for the best, you simply can’t beat Asimov’s “Lobbyists for the Politically-Active Not-for-Profit Foundation” trilogy.

    And when the state budget is finally revealed, remember the wise words of Arthur C. Clarke: Any sufficiently advanced accounting trick is indistinguishable from magic.

    – MrJM


  23. - MrJM - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 1:44 pm:

    p.s. I am not a nerd!


  24. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 1:45 pm:

    Yes, you are.


  25. - MrJM - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 1:47 pm:

    Ok Rich, you’re right.

    You’re always right.

    Now can I have my glasses back?


  26. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 1:49 pm:

    Not until you say “pretty please.”


  27. - Anon - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 2:20 pm:

    A legislator would be crazy to vote for a pension borrowing bill after tomorrow’s cuts. If they do, they will be accused of having their priorities out of line with their voters who would rather spend the state’s scarce resources on education, health care, senior programs and other social services. I don’t think that voters are in the mood to be fed the line that we had to borrow billions to fund early retirements (those pesky “retirees” under 65) to try and free up money for other programs. Most of the cuts Quinn will propose tomorrow will still be necessary even if another 3.9 billion is borrowed to fund retired state workers pensions between now and November 2nd.


  28. - Leatherneck - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 2:26 pm:

    Rich, what was the House or Senate Bill Number again for the Emergency Budget Act?


  29. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 2:33 pm:

    SB 3660

    I think…


  30. - Leatherneck - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 3:17 pm:

    From what I understand about SB 3660 (House Amendment 9), the Emergency Budget Act does not apply to the budgets of the other constitutional officers (SOS, AG, etc.). So it sounds like the big budget announcement tomorrow will only concern those allocations under the governor’s direct control. Am I understanding this correctly? As for the budgets of the other constitutionals, will those be subject to AV when Quinn signs HB 859? Some things to think about.


  31. - lincolnlover - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 3:46 pm:

    Anon - Whether they are “in the mood” or not, it is an obligation they must attend to. And they are not funding the pensions, they are simply paying back the money they borrowed from those funds for many years by not paying in their share. Kind of like a charge card, except they are over their limit and need to pay up.


  32. - cover - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 4:01 pm:

    Thanks for the list of sci-fi “novels”, MrJM! Are you also fluent in Klingon?


  33. - Secret Square - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 4:06 pm:

    “As for the budgets of the other constitutionals, will those be subject to AV when Quinn signs HB 859?”

    Yes, as will the budgets for the General Assembly and various legislative and judicial branch agencies.


  34. - RJW - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 5:09 pm:

    Don’t expect Quinn to AV or reduce any of the budget lines. He will sign the bills and then announce what he is going to do under the Emergency Budget Act. I’m sure he may talk to the Constitutional Officers about what they might do but he isn’t going to mess with their budgets this year as I’m sure he would like to maintain peace in an election year.


  35. - NRA associate - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 6:02 pm:

    Funny ..is how the state is so broke, yet they find money to send hacks to UIS and to remodel a certain “Aging” Directors new office at his new location. I hear the Director and his assistant were insulted because it was too small and they have to knock out a wall. Gee….poor DNR.


  36. - MrJM - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 9:40 pm:

    @cover,

    Alas, I’m not fluent in Klingon.

    Or in English, for that matter.

    – MrJM


  37. - Retired State Employee - Wednesday, Jun 30, 10 @ 9:55 pm:

    “What insane world do you live in”

    Show me a list in priority order of the role of state government so that we can start cutting from the bottom up. That’s the rational thing to do but politicians don’t do that. Take Quinn for instance, he talks a lot but as soon as some interest group complains, he backs down and spends the money. Brady doesn’t have any specifics either. Bottom line, maybe they talk about it but neither party is interested in really dealing with the problem.


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