* One way or another, the governor has to act on the budget today…
The fiscal year ends at midnight Thursday, so Quinn will want to have a new budget in place before that.
The Democratic governor isn’t a fan of the budget lawmakers sent him. He says it shortchanges education, human services and other critical needs.
But there is little Quinn can do. He has the power to cut appropriations but not to add to them.
Major spending increases would require blocking the entire budget and telling lawmakers to start over, which isn’t likely to happen.
Whatever he does, expect an attempt at making a big splash, although it will not include a public appearance. The governor’s schedule includes no planned events.
* Meanwhile, the pain continues unabated…
The state has finished the fiscal year owing Knox County around $795,000 as Springfield’s financial woes continue to pressure local governments.
The new state budget year begins July 1 but the state is still four months behind in its distribution of income taxes to the county for the current fiscal year, leaving a $255,000 hole in the county’s general fund.
Also in arrears are salary reimbursements for the state’s attorney, supervisor of assessments and public defender. The state is six months or more behind in payments for each of those salaries, with the total amount outstanding close to $140,000. […]
The county has had to use creative methods to compensate for the delays in state funding, including shifting money from the county’s landfill account to its general fund to make up for the loss. Some county employees took lower raises than were agreed in their union contracts.
I know I’ve said this countless times already, but the state continues to be one of the biggest problems in Illinois’ economy.
* And while state budget cuts are obviously needed, they create yet another drag on the economy. From the Wall Street Journal…
Weakness in the state and local government sector has been a drag on the recovery, as governments of states, counties, school districts and other entities cut spending and jobs amid diminished revenue. The state and local government sector subtracted 0.5% from U.S. gross domestic product growth in the first quarter—one factor behind the sluggish 1.9% quarterly growth rate, adjusted for inflation.
Despite the improved tax revenue, the government sector is expected to continue weighing on growth. That’s because the estimated $135 billion in federal stimulus funds that states have used to balance their budgets through the recession is now gone, which explains in part why states continue to cut services despite growing tax collections.
“With more employment cuts on the horizon, the sector will continue to exert a large drag on the U.S. economy,” Gregory Daco, an economist with research firm IHS Global Insight, wrote in a note to clients.
* I don’t know whether this is just bureaucratic incompetence or a lack of money, but one local economy is suffering because the state hasn’t replaced a sewer pump…
Work to get the campgrounds and concession stand at Illini State Park reopened may begin within days — but it still may be “several weeks” before the project is completed.
A faulty sewage pump has kept the campgrounds, showers and flush toilets closed since May 2 and prevented C.P.’s Ice Cream from opening for the summer season.
The shutdown also has cut sharply into critical summer revenue from campers and visitors for many Marseilles businesses. […]
A petition drive earlier this month organized by the Illinois River Area Chamber of Commerce garnered 2,133 signatures, including many from out of town.
The petition, which urged prompt action on the pump repair, was sent on June 17 to Gov. Pat Quinn, with copies to Mautino, state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, and state Rep. Pam Roth, R-Morris.
Hey, IDNR, it’s almost July.
* And the lack of a signed gaming expansion bill is causing cutbacks at Fairmount…
Fairmount Park will end its live racing meet three weeks early this season — on Sept. 9 — after the Illinois Racing Board on Tuesday approved a request from Fairmount president and chief executive Brian Zander to reduce the schedule because of a shortage of money… The board had originally awarded the track 75 racing days last September on the hope that the Illinois Legislature would pass a gaming expansion bill.
* Property tax appeal board could get extra money
* Naperville chamber hears from Quinn’s budget guru: “In this last session, we saw the committees going deeper into the works, larger parts of committees actually working, asking questions, making suggestions, making changes,” Vaught said. “And I think that’s a significant process improvement.”
* Highway Districts On State Chopping Block
* Quinn makes no commitment to casino bill during Rockford visit
* Civic group urges cutting City Council, privatizing Midway