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Hynes cries foul

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007

* I’m not sure who’s telling the truth here (although I have my suspicions), but it looks like the governor’s people are more than hinting that Comptroller Hynes is trying to force a budget crisis. On the other hand, it might be assumed that the governor’s office is keeping the squeeze on Medicaid providers in order to prod them into backing his GRT plan, which would provide lots of cashola.

The Blagojevich administration missed a chance to pay $650 million in Medicaid bills in early April, despite a suggestion to act from Comptroller Dan Hynes’ office, the agency said Tuesday.

However, the governor’s office said the plan outlined by Hynes’ staff would have left the state short of money to pay Medicaid bills through the rest of the budget year, which ends June 30. […]

On April 4, Hynes’ chief of staff, Keith Taylor, sent a letter to Barry Maram, director of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services. In it, Taylor said the comptroller’s office had an opportunity to pay $650 million in Medicaid bills if the department would forward the invoices for payment. […]

[Yesterday, Taylor sent a follow-up letter] “The Office of Comptroller is extremely disappointed that your department failed to respond to our letter of 4/4/07 . . .” Taylor wrote. “Given the fact that you held and continue to hold an additional $1 billion in Medicaid bills, we find your lack of action or even an official reply to our April 4 communication inexplicable.”

Knowles said the payment plan relied on money borrowed short term to kick-start an assessment program that taxes hospitals to obtain additional federal money to treat Medicaid patients. However, the legislature still hasn’t approved a supplemental spending bill needed to fully implement the hospital assessment program.

* The irrepressible Ralph Martire is at it again

The man behind the so-called tax-swap proposal to fund Illinois schools said Tuesday night that McHenry County state legislators were acting neither fairly nor morally in rejecting his measure.

Ralph Martire, the executive director of the bipartisan organization Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, outlined House Bill 750 at District 300’s Community Finance Committee meeting Tuesday, which drew officials from neighboring districts to hear the school funding expert speak. […]

“We need to stop being cafeteria capitalists and start reading Adam Smith [widely considered the father of modern economics] again,” Martire said Tuesday. “[These legislators] are frankly ignoring the issue. … Of course rich people should be paying more in taxes than they get back.”

* More…

* Martire’s board of directors

* Professor: Gross receipts tax will not fix state budget problem

* Scholar borrows a pension solution

* Chambers fight gross receipts tax

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Apr 25, 07 @ 9:20 am:

    You were on that bus with him. Does he seem capable of pulling these stunts?

    Blagojevich likes to fight and bully, while Hynes is as vanilla as me but comes off as meek. Blagojevich will tell you anything, while Hynes seems very straight-forward.

    I’d rather believe Hynes over Blagojevich. But then again, Blagojevich has proved repeatedly that no one should believe anything he says.

    Bottom line - tough noogies. The Democrats renominated Blagojevich knowing fully well his numerous shortcomings and scandals. When Blagojevich is done playing with Illinois, the Illinois Democratic Party should be held accountable for the damage done.

  2. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Apr 25, 07 @ 10:27 am:

    Martire’s board includes AFSCME, IFT and AFL-CIO reps. That says more than any speech Ralph gives about where he’s coming from. At least the GRT would provide some health insurance. Ralph wants to give most of our money to the schools regardless of actual education bureaucracy performance, plus some tasty bites of the money pie to unionized state government.

    It’s all bait and switch. Bait us with a little property tax relief into a permanent income tax increase without mentioning that the property tax relief won’t be much and won’t last long.

  3. - fed up - Wednesday, Apr 25, 07 @ 10:38 am:

    Blago is a liar and a fraud. This man will say and do anything to get his way. Good for Hynes for calling blago on this stunt. Blago will manufactur a crisis to make his grt plan seem neccasary. hopefully the feds get him before he does more harm

  4. - Number 8 - Wednesday, Apr 25, 07 @ 10:50 am:

    It doesn’t surprise me that Hynes would try to get some press at Blagojevich’s expense. He did it many times in the first term. This is just another example of Hynes using the governor to get himself some positive press.

    Isnt it time to combine the offices of comptroller and treasurer anyway? Why do we have these unnecessary constitutional offices? We could probably do away with the Lt. Governor for that matter. What real purpose does the Lt. Gov serve?

  5. - Squideshi - Wednesday, Apr 25, 07 @ 11:10 am:

    The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability is a BIpartisan organization? Not a NONpartisan organization? 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from doing anything that would “…have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates…”

  6. - RMW Stanford - Wednesday, Apr 25, 07 @ 1:05 pm:

    Hynes seems to relativity honest and straight talking, unlike Governor Blagojevich, so I would believe Hynes over Blagojevich. Particular when you take some of the latter’s political stunts into account and the history of not paying Medicaid bills.

  7. - To be fair... - Wednesday, Apr 25, 07 @ 1:14 pm:

    Usually the HFS folks are the ones who are disingenuous about Medicaid payments, but in this case, HFS probably had little choice but to conserve appropriations for the balance of the fiscal year in order to be able to pay their hardship providers. The Comptroller was correct in saying that there was a period of enhanced liquidity due to the proceeds from the hospital assessment. However, HFS simply didn’t have the appropriation reserves necessary to utilize it.

    I think the Comptroller was trying to call out the Governor on the Medicaid deficit, knowing that at this point in the fiscal year, HFS couldn’t respond.

  8. - Papa Legba - Wednesday, Apr 25, 07 @ 3:30 pm:

    Blagojevich Administration.

    For the love of God. Pay these people already! They have waited long enough. What are you waiting for? A good day for a press release to announce that you are graciously repaying a debt that you owe.

    Start by paying the people who have been waiting the longest and start now. Morons.

  9. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Apr 25, 07 @ 10:42 pm:

    we must not have updated our website recently enough. Former AG Jim Ryan joined our Board a couple of months ago.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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