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House budget roundup

Friday, May 16, 2014

* Reuters

Democratic lawmakers pushed dozens of fiscal 2015 appropriations bills through the Illinois House of Representatives on Thursday over protests largely from Republicans that the money does not exist to pay for higher spending.

The bills for the budget that takes effect July 1 were based on Governor Pat Quinn’s preferred spending plan that calls for making permanent higher income tax rates that were put in place in 2011 and are scheduled to partially expire on January 1. But instead of voting first on the taxes, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan decided to start with appropriations.[…]

At the beginning of Thursday’s marathon budget session, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said that the budget process was taking the wrong turn.

“We are voting today for an unconstitutional budget, plain and simple,” he said.

* Illinois Issues

The plan approved [yesterday] was largely based on Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget proposal, which calls for an extension of the current income tax rates. The rates are scheduled to begin stepping down in the second half of next fiscal year. The plan would increase spending for K-12 and higher education, as well as human services. The spending includes several line items specifically requested by Quinn, including increased funding to the Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) for low-income college students, additional funding for maternal and early childhood health programs, money to turn two shuttered youth centers into special treatment centers for mentally ill and substance addicted adult inmates and raises for home health care workers.

Still, the plan would not fully fund General State Aid to schools. GSA has been prorated for the last three years. The legislation passed today would fund GSA at 90 percent. Some Republicans argued that if there is going to be a tax increase, more of the money should go to education. The line item for transportation would be funded at 83 percent. “We’re spending more money than at any time in history and the question is where is the money? Cause it doggone sure is not in education,” said Rep. Chad Hays, a Catlin Republican. “Where is the money? This process doesn’t add up.” Lewiston Democratic Rep. William Davis, who is chairman of the House K-12 education budgeting committee, said that K-12 education would be getting a bigger chunk of revenue than other areas of the budget. “Tell me someone in this chamber who doesn’t run on some education platform—that they support education and want to see it fully funded? I think we all agree on that. But I think the reality is that there are always some limitations. We don’t have an unlimited pot of resources that we can use.”

* Daily Herald

On scores of votes, state Reps. Sam Yingling of Grayslake, Marty Moylan of Des Plaines, Anna Moeller of Elgin, Stephanie Kifowit of Aurora and Deborah Conroy of Villa Park voted “no.” The five could face tough Republican opponents in November.

“It’s irresponsible to vote for a budget with a fictional income source,” Yingling said in a statement.

And Moylan said he’s opposed the tax extension and therefore couldn’t vote for a budget that relies on its money.

Other Democrats who have had competitive races in the past — state Reps. Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg, Fred Crespo of Hoffman Estates, Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook and Kathleen Willis of Addison — voted “yes” on the budget.

* SJ-R

Among those voting for most of the bills was Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, who previously said she is against extending the temporary tax hike and even co-sponsored a bill in 2013 to immediately eliminate the tax increase. The bill never came to a vote.

Scherer received substantial financial support from House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, both in her first election campaign in 2012 and again this spring in the primary election during which she successfully fended off a challenge from Gina Lathan of Springfield.

Scherer said Thursday her votes for the budget do not indicate she will vote to extend the temporary income tax increase.

“My feeling has not changed,” Scherer said. “There’s not been a single vote taken today about taxes. I know there are people trying to say this is a tax vote. This is a budget vote, which is not an annual financial report. It’s a budget vote.”

* Illinois News Network

“I’ve been visited a lot today by people who know the extension is going to be very vital for social services, hospitals; they’ve all contacted me,” state Rep. Daniel Beiser, D-Alton. “What I’m trying to do right now is I’m trying to figure out what’s best for my district. … What if we don’t extend the tax? What’s going to be cut in my area? Because I don’t need one more job cut in my area. I don’t need anything else closed. I’m going to take all of that into consideration and I’m going to do what’s best for my district.”

His view was echoed by state Rep. Mike Smiddy, D-Hillsdale.

“We have two and a half weeks left in the session to look at whether or not people want to keep the … tax increase that was put into effect three years ago,” he said. “I think we could’ve done things a little bit differently. I’m a freshman down here and whatever they decide to do, I have to make the best of and make my decisions on how I would like to vote.”

* Sun-Times

In a late development Thursday filled with political intrigue, House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, invoked a rare parliamentary maneuver that blocks the spending bills from being sent to the Senate, keeping them under House control. […]

The day offered no clarity on whether House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, was making any headway toward reaching the necessary 60 House votes from his 71-member caucus to keep the temporary income-tax increases from rolling back in January. At one point Thursday, the Capitol Fax political blog estimated that Madigan’s headcount stood at a mere 53.

“He hasn’t given me a number, but I think we’re a decent ways away,” Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said late Thursday, when asked how far his boss had to go to reach the 60-vote threshold.

That estimate was made before the votes were clear yesterday. Subscribers know more.

* Also

House Speaker Michael Madigan has filed a motion that will effectively prevent the more than 70 budget bills passed today from automatically going to the Senate. Madigan told the Chicago Tribune that the move was needed in case the House wanted to further amend the bills.

* WUIS

There are other possibilities: there are murmurs of meeting in the middle; instead of keeping the tax rate where it is or letting it drop to 3.75 percent, choose a number in between.

Other lawmakers say Illinois could come up with more cash by closing so-called corporate loopholes, or reducing the portion of state taxes shared with cities and towns. The problem is, neither of those ideas would match the amount of money Illinois would rake in through a higher income tax.

Which leaves Democrats scrambling to herd their members.

* The typical taxpayer is forking over about $1,100 more this year as a result of the tax hike, according to government numbers crunched by the AP

Number of Illinois taxpayers: 5.99 million

Average taxable income: $55,000

2014 average state tax liability at 5 percent: $2,750

Average liability at 3 percent rate: $1,650

Average liability at 3.75 percent if tax is rolled back: $2,062

Average reduction with the rollback: $688

* From House GOP Leader Jim Durkin’s press release…

Leader Durkin has sent a letter requesting an Attorney General opinion regarding the constitutionality of an appropriation of public funds in a state budget, where the appropriations listed in the budget exceed the funds estimated by the General Assembly for that fiscal year.

House Democrats are expected to pass further budget bills next week and the total spending number is expected to climb and could reach a record high of $38 billion before adjournment.

* And there was also this quite harsh press release from Democratic freshman Rep. Sam Yingling…

State Representative Sam Yingling will once again assert his independence by voting against a State budget proposal promoted by Democratic leadership in the Illinois House. The series of budget proposals are based on the assumption that Illinois’ temporary income tax increase will be extended or made permanent, something Yingling staunchly opposes.

“It’s irresponsible to vote for a budget with a fictional income source,” said Yingling from Springfield, “I will fight against the income tax increase and it would be illogical, hypocritical, to vote for a budget on a premise I believe is the wrong direction for taxpayers.” […]

“I was elected to fight the status-quo, no be part of it. My area has among the highest property taxes in the County, asking people to pay more is beyond comprehension.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        


27 Comments
  1. - Demoralized - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 9:36 am:

    My problem is that the even voted no on the budgets that don’t have GRF and have funding sources sufficient to pay for them. That kind of destroys their argument in my opinion. They were voting no in those cases simply out of protest.


  2. - RNUG - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 9:39 am:

    Just one more exhibit to destroy the police powers / fiscal responsibility claim in the State’s response filed yesterday.


  3. - DuPage - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 9:39 am:

    They want MORE for schools and lower the tax. Sounds like they need to go back to those schools for a refresher course in basic math.


  4. - Bill White - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 9:43 am:

    I wonder whether doing the spending side first is being done to help sort out where cuts should be made in the event the extension does not pass.

    Let the districts of those who vote “No” suffer the most.

    Also, Jim Durkin is flat out wrong - there is nothing unconstitutional about this process, provided what ends up getting sent to the Governor is balanced. After all, none of this has been sent to the IL Senate, yet.

    This is merely negotiation and deliberation.


  5. - Tequila Mockingbird - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 9:44 am:

    Nice that we can now separate fiscal reality from the budget process!


  6. - Bill White - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 9:47 am:

    @Tequila

    Nothing is final until the IL House and IL Senate pass the same budget.

    Too many of those who want taxes cut are seeking to avoid ownership of the spending cuts those tax cuts require.


  7. - Commander Norton - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 9:53 am:

    Two strikes against the Speaker’s staff if they were responsible for the Yingling release - first for being slimy and secondly for the typos and grammatical flubs. It’s a dog and pony show on both sides of the aisle, and I pity the reporters who had to spend 11 hours covering it yesterday.


  8. - A guy... - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 9:54 am:

    Sausage making. Bad sausage. You want an increase, pass it. I have a growing feeling that the folks in voterland are paying more attention this time. We’ll see. This might be too clever by half.


  9. - Anonymous - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 9:58 am:

    buy now pay later no money down


  10. - Anon - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 9:58 am:

    Rep. Scherer is either clueless or shameless in thinking she can vote for a couple of $billion in more spending than she is willing to vote for revenues to pay for. I guess she has no problem with voting for a budget deficit — contrary to the constitution.


  11. - DuPage Dave - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 9:58 am:

    The truth is the state doesn’t have enough money to pay for ordinary operations of the state without continuing the income tax as is. For the Republicans to pretend otherwise is foolish.


  12. - Bill White - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 10:00 am:

    = This might be too clever by half. =

    Why? If the extension fails to pass, the budget can be scaled back, before being sent to the governor.

    But those who voted “No” on the extension will be tagged with the cuts made necessary by that failure to extend.

    Seems entirely fair and transparent to me.


  13. - wordslinger - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 10:07 am:

    Brutal. My sympathies to anyone who had to sit through that stuff. That’s 11 hours you’ll never get back in your life.


  14. - Leatherneck - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 10:07 am:

    Would you also not be surprised if the House budget bill amendments will include significant across-the-board cuts (maybe somewhere in the middle between the Governor’s proposed and “not recommended” budgets) in order to persuade reluctant Dems to vote for making the 5% tax rate permanent? I would not be surprised if this occurs.


  15. - Rod - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 10:07 am:

    DuPage just to clarify what I think the Republican position is on increased education spending. Their math is not confused, my impression is that that the idea would be to cut human services and transfer the money over to K-12 education. Let’s recall the assumption being made by many Republicans that there is waste and cheating going on all over the place. I am not endorsing that perspective just to be clear.


  16. - Truthteller - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 10:09 am:

    How would you know whether it was necessary to extend the tax if you didn’t know what spending is going to be ? Which comes first, chicken or egg?


  17. - A guy... - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 10:18 am:

    In Springfield; the Chicken.


  18. - Walker - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 10:29 am:

    Durkin’s move is smart. It’s also part of the negotiation process.

    He won’t be holding his breath waiting for a response.


  19. - McDouble - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 10:43 am:

    Anything coming from Yingling’s and Franks’s camps regarding the budget having a fictitious income source is NOTHING BUT PR.

    Leader Durkin pushed to adjourn the House as soon as the unanimously-agreed-upon budget number of $34.5 billion had been reached and what happened? Party-line vote. Every Dem caved to #DaSpeaker’s wishes and allowed the budgeting process to continue.


  20. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 10:46 am:

    McDouble, that’s a stretch. Not saying the HGOPs won’t use it, but a real logical stretch.


  21. - McDouble - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 11:51 am:

    I stand by my words; Franks, Yingling, and others voted No on all the budget bills, so why wouldn’t they vote to stop the budgeting altogether? If you oppose each individual element, why wouldn’t you oppose the sum of the elements?

    The answer: everyone knows they only voted No because #DaSpeaker allowed them to maintain their persona and vote that way. Leader Durkin’s adjournment motion blindsided the entire House. It was as direct a shot as the minority party could have taken to show they weren’t playing around. Madigan responded by making his whole party vote for him; thus, showing his power right back.

    In conclusion: Yingling, Franks, et al are only anti-tax when they’re allowed to be because it’s good for their individual image.


  22. - Formerpol - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    Posters who are state employees and thus have a conflict on the 67% tax hike should identify themselves when they post. Budget could easily be balanced without the tax hike. But some people at the taxpayer trough will feel pain. That’s better then the rest of us feeling pain by giving another 2% of our incomes to the tax eaters!


  23. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    McDouble, repeating your comment doesn’t make it true.

    Durkin’s motion was for show. It was a good show, no doubt. But adjourning yesterday wouldn’t have prevented the House from taking up the bills today. You wanna keep adjourning early every day all the way to May 31?

    C’mon. Enough with the dramatics.


  24. - wordslinger - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    –Budget could easily be balanced without the tax hike.–

    Give us the broad strokes, but use real numbers.


  25. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 12:13 pm:

    ===Budget could easily be balanced without the tax hike===

    If that was true, then why doesn’t somebody on the GOP side introduce a bill to do it?


  26. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 12:17 pm:

    …or the anti-tax hike extension Democrats, for that matter?


  27. - McDouble - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 12:18 pm:

    You’re arguing that Durkin’s actions were for show. Everyone in the Capitol Complex knows that, and I won’t deny it.

    However, I’m arguing that those allowed to vote No were doin it for just as selfish a cause as Leader Durkin’s motion to adjourn: It puts them in good light while not hindering the process. I’m not arguing that the motion to adjourn should have passed; I’m arguing that if those Dems actually oppose the income tax staying at it’s current level, then they should have voted for the adjournment in the same manner that every approp bill theretofore had been voted on. Such a vote would have killed the adjournment motion and the reps in question would be able to say they fought.

    Instead, they only opposed it when allowed, and that’s what I’m concluding. I don’t know how you can conclude anything else from their actions.

    (Also, I repeat stuff to make sure I’ve conveyed it clearly and there’s no misinterpretation. I’m not good at being concise, that’s why I don’t run a blog haha)


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