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Report: “Recommended” budget vote could happen this week

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

* Kurt Erickson

After weeks of listening to predictions of doom and gloom from top state officials, Democrats in the Illinois House are poised to roll out a spending plan that relies on an extension of the temporary income tax.

Rather than imposing tough cuts on schools, prisons, universities and social services, the spending plan would mirror a budget proposed by Gov. Pat Quinn that adds more cash for schools, universities and social service programs, said state Rep. Greg Harris, a Chicago Democrat who chairs a House appropriations committee.

The majority party could schedule a vote on the budget blueprint as early as Thursday, with an eye on asking lawmakers to extend the temporary income tax at a later date. […]

State Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley, said leaders are polling Democratic members to try to gauge how many members support an extension.

If they go ahead and do this and it’s somehow signed into law before the tax hike extension is approved, I don’t know how it could satisfy constitutional review.

…Adding… From the Constitution

The General Assembly by law shall make appropriations for all expenditures of public funds by the State. Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year.

They’ve gotten around this in the past by fudging revenue or even spending numbers (not making pension payments, for instance, or pushing Medicaid payments off to the future). But when the revenue numbers are clearly lower than the spending numbers, the budget could be challenged.

…Adding more… I can’t help but think this’ll really mess with the state’s bond rating as well. Talk about “uncertainty.” Sheesh, what a stupid idea this is unless they can actually pass a tax hike extension by the end of the month.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


34 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 1:45 pm:

    – But when the revenue numbers are clearly lower than the spending numbers, the budget could be challenged.–

    Agreed. I’m just wondering what kind of remedy the courts would seek to impose.


  2. - Yipperdo - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 2:03 pm:

    Does this mean that there is an early adjournement?


  3. - CircularFiringSquad - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 2:12 pm:

    Gotta love it when Capt. Fax get all constitutioney on us:)


  4. - downstate hack - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    “the budget could be challenged.”

    Such a budget SHOULD be challenged


  5. - Stooges - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 2:30 pm:

    Hasn’t that become the method of choice lately for the ruling party, pass something of questionable constitutionality and let the opposers challenge it in court?


  6. - archimedes - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 2:31 pm:

    Wasn’t there a budget passed several years ago, with insufficient revenue. The “temporary” budget would have lasted the first 1/2 year, then if no new revenue the second half of the year would be reduced to balance out…


  7. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 2:32 pm:

    archimedes, I believe that was ‘09. But that’s way different than this one.


  8. - Give Me A Break - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 2:39 pm:

    What we have here is Chicken or Egg situation. Going to be fun to see if there is enough heat generated to hatch the egg (tax extension), if not, this chicken (Recommended Budget)won’t hatch.

    Sorry, couldn’t help myself.


  9. - Rod - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 2:43 pm:

    I agree with Rich and others that there are real constitutional issues here. Months ago in passing I mentioned the possibility of a six month budget to Senator Steans and she seemed to think it was a real bad idea at that time. It gets us past the election so the tax extension vote would take place in a different atmosphere.

    But I understand the dislike for the six month budget idea with the income tax extension just hanging out there.


  10. - Rob Roy - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 2:48 pm:

    Constitutions Shomstitution. Nation of men not Laws.


  11. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 2:52 pm:

    It’s an emergency, so the constitution doesn’t matter. Right?


  12. - SAP - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 3:01 pm:

    I believe they could do it if the budget bill said that it would take effect if and only if HBXXXX (with HBXXXX being the tax increase bill) takes effect. Of course if they passed the recommended budget without the tax increase, you’d be up a creek without a budget.


  13. - Stones - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 3:14 pm:

    Why would one think that we should follow the Constitution now? We certainly didn’t do that when it comes to pensions being diminished.


  14. - WhoKnew - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 3:28 pm:

    Spend - Vote - Tax!!

    Kinda’ like Shoot - Aim - Ready


  15. - Toure's Latte - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 3:30 pm:

    Passing a budget without having the revenues to pay for it happens all the time, doesn’t it?


  16. - Barney - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 3:32 pm:

    the democrats control the legislature and they are doing everything in their power to lose power.


  17. - Langhorne - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 3:43 pm:

    Wow. Recommended budget vote, but not enuf revenue to back it up. Or eden martin itchin for a fight. What a freakin scary mess


  18. - A guy... - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 4:14 pm:

    This could be funny if we lived elsewhere. Since it’s here, it’s just sad and frustrating. This is embarrassing and ridiculous.


  19. - Bill White - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 4:25 pm:

    = Sheesh, what a stupid idea this is unless they can actually pass a tax hike extension by the end of the month. =

    First, I agree 100% with the foregoing.

    Second, any state representative who votes “Yes” for the budget and then votes “No” for the income tax increase deserves to be ridiculed at Volume 11 on a 10 point scale.


  20. - anon - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 4:26 pm:

    The strategy is to get legislators to vote for the spending in hopes they would then feel some responsibility to also vote for the revenues to pay for the spending they want. That assumes they have some shame.


  21. - Abe the Babe - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 4:34 pm:

    - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 2:32 pm:

    archimedes, I believe that was ‘09. But that’s way different than this one.

    Ok, how? The constitution doesn’t say that the budget has to be for the entire fiscal year. If they approp 6 months of spending and have enough revenues to support it, why not?

    Its obviously bad policy but it seems that there is precedent and legal arguments on their side.


  22. - Bill White - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 4:47 pm:

    IMHO, the budget isn’t unconstitutional unless or until the next fiscal year begins, without extension of the 5% rate.

    Any representative who votes “Yes” on the budget and “No” on the extension deserves to be called names that warrant banishment from Capitol Fax.

    Any representative who votes “No” on the budget should be prepared to say what appropriations they want deleted.


  23. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 4:54 pm:

    Instead of appropriating the entire fiscal year, can the GA just appropriate until January? If they can and they do so only through December, then they either can continue the current tax rate and appropriate the rest of the year if Quinn gets reelected or have Rauner becoming governor in the midst of a shutdown.


  24. - Been There - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 5:17 pm:

    I think there will be a line item in the budget revenue estimates that calls for winning the lottery. That is how I budget in my household so I see no problem. Budget balanced.


  25. - Formerpol - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 5:18 pm:

    New spending? That is insane. The state is broke. Put off all new spending,


  26. - Soccermom - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 5:29 pm:

    Word — hypothetically, could the courts forbid the Comptroller from issuing checks because the budget is unconstitutional?


  27. - Mighty M. Mouse - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 6:08 pm:

    ===what a stupid idea this is unless they can actually pass a tax hike extension by the end of the month.===

    Fred Eychaner surprised some people with the respect he has for Mike Madigan. I think that the Speaker will get what he wants out of the GA, but maybe that’s just me. I think the Speaker, President Cullerton and the Governor are all on the same train and the GA will get on board.


  28. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 10:33 pm:

    –Word — hypothetically, could the courts forbid the Comptroller from issuing checks because the budget is unconstitutional?–

    No idea. Supremes at state and federal levels work in mysterious ways.

    The whole idea of judicial review, claimed by old John Marshall, when he wanted to stick it to his cousin, Thomas Jefferson, is a bit wobbly, a matter of faith. There’s nothing in the Constitution about it.

    John Marshall and the Supremes ruled that Andrew Jackson couldn’t steal Native-American’s titled property and force them out of Georgia on the Trail of Tears.

    Jackson said, “Marshall made his ruling, now let him enforce it.”

    I’m pretty sure the state Supremes want as little to do with the budget as possible (unless it’s about their money, lol).

    For any challenge, I could see them killing the clock until after the election.


  29. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, May 13, 14 @ 11:06 pm:

    So far as the state budget is concerned, revenues are estimates or assumptions, not guarantees. They could simply assume that the income tax extension (or some other revenue source-April surprise) is going to happen.


  30. - Soccermom - Wednesday, May 14, 14 @ 8:31 am:

    John Marshall was Jefferson’s cousin? WHY DOESN’T ANYBODY TELL ME ANYTHING???


  31. - George - Wednesday, May 14, 14 @ 8:42 am:

    Hey, Mr. Schnorf, is that the George Costanza school of budgeting? Remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it.


  32. - Robo - Wednesday, May 14, 14 @ 8:56 am:

    This is a move to tie down the last few votes in the House they need to pass the revenue bill.


  33. - Walter Mitty - Wednesday, May 14, 14 @ 9:00 am:

    SERENITY NOW…. SERENITY NOW…


  34. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, May 14, 14 @ 11:57 am:

    george, you don’t even have to believe it, you just have to be willing to vote for it


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