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Budget and end of session roundup

Friday, May 30, 2008

* One House member asked the presiding officer (Rep. Joe Lyons) last night if members could check out of their hotels on Friday, since the calendar didn’t show a Saturday session

“Representative, we will be here Saturday. Nice try,” said Lyons.

That’s pretty much what everybody else was told as well.

* Things are moving along

State Sen. Donne Trotter, the Senate’s budget point man, said negotiations, were mostly complete, with the exception of some human services programs.

* And schools appear to be in line for a big boost

Illinois schools could receive up to $500 million more from a new state budget coming together in Springfield, a key lawmaker said Thursday.

* But the budget won’t be balanced. The $16 billion pension bond bill, which passed the Senate yesterday and would free up $500 million, isn’t likely to pass the House. That might not be such a bad thing

A University of Illinois economist says a pension borrowing plan pushed through the state Senate by Democrats Thursday is “nothing more than a book-keeping gimmick” that won’t solve the state’s long-term financial problems.

Jeffrey R. Brown, director of the U of I Center on Business and Public Policy, said the plan passes the burden of future pension debt to the next generation of taxpayers.

“It is a classic case of using smoke and mirrors to try to fool the public into thinking we have done something meaningful when we have not,” said Brown.

* A Senate-approved $530 million funds sweep has a better chance of passing the House, but

Even without those two infusions of cash, Senate Republicans said the Democrat budget isn’t balanced because it is overly optimistic about state tax collections next year. Democrats think things like personal and corporate income taxes and sales taxes will increase by $1 billion, despite the economic downturn.

The governor will essentially be told to use his line item and reduction veto powers to bring the budget into line. They used to do that all the time in the 1970s and 1980s.

* Still, sticking points remain

The main sticking point in the overall budget appears to be with the House Democrats, who want to increase spending for human services. But Hannig said the House tomorrow likely will present two more substantial portions of a budget that would represent an agreement between the chambers.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Captain America - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 8:31 am:

    Virtually nothing has been accomplsihed this session because of dysfunctional Democratic leadership. An overtime session makes no sense - where little else will get accomplised with greater difficulty. So I help they wrap things up by the May 31 midnight deadline. It’s completely ridiculous the way things go down to the wire before anything gets done.

    In principle, I support the House members’ desire to increase human serices funding, but I don’t know where the money’s going to come from.

  2. - wordslinger - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 9:34 am:

    Cooler heads prevail?

  3. - Truth in Accounting - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 11:09 am:

    State governments are masters at accounting gimmicks.

    This is just like parents borrowing money from their kids to pay their credit cards off. To make matters worse, the parents continue to over spend by going out to dinner and going on vacation. It’s ok, because with the money they borrowed from their kids, they can now say they balanced their budget and the parents did buy the kids some presents.

  4. - Muskrat - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 11:16 am:

    It’s nice to know that the GA is working out a multibillion-dollar budget with the work ethic (and, one fears, the attention to detail) of a sullen teenager doing a term paper at the last minute.

    Have another Red Bull! Don’t forget the spell check!

  5. - saturday - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 1:16 pm:
    Tomorrow is the official end date of the spring session for Illinois lawmakers. But they haven’t approved a budget, or a $31 billion building plan, which is also on the table.

    The capital building plan calls for an expansion of gambling and leasing the state lottery to provide money for roads, bridges, and other construction projects. The question remains, though, whether state legislators will stick around past Saturday if they don’t approve it before then.

    Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan says the future of the capital plan falls on Governor Rod Blagojevich. Madigan says the governor has been reluctant to bring people to the table.

    MADIGAN: The House Democratic caucus is a very diverse group. I work every day to bring them together. Blagojevich attempts to rip people apart and now we see what the problem is: he can’t govern. He can’t get things enacted because of that government style.

    Earlier this week, Blagojevich had a press conference with all of the state legislative leaders except Madigan. At that time, the leaders said they supported passing the capital plan.

  6. - 10 Billion No More!! - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 1:28 pm:

    Notice in the Govs latest press release that the lease amount for the lottery has gone down to 7 billion from the original 10 billion. What will it be next??

  7. - GA Watcher - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 1:36 pm:

    FYI, House Revenue passed a bill this morning which would allow for the lease of the lottery as proposed by the Governor in his capital plan (HB 2093). The vote was 7-1-1, no Republicans were on it.

    House Gaming also adopted the gaming expansion/reform package required in the Gov’s cap plan (HB 2650). That vote was 25-1-1. The GOP obviously supported it.

    Both bills await floor action.

  8. - GA Watcher - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 1:42 pm:

    10 Billion:
    Go to the Illinois Works website. The latest summary of the capital plan puts the price tag at $33 billion, not the $31 billion the Governor et al stated at the presser earlier this week. That now makes the difference $5 billion!

  9. - Lottery Final Number - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 1:49 pm:

    Could be as high as Five Billion.

  10. - jj - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 2:19 pm:

    Umm, before you guys get hurt patting yourselves on the back…

    The lottery lease always has generated $10 billion. $7 billion of that cash would go to capital PAYGO.

  11. - Lottery Final Number - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 2:40 pm:

    Stand behind your man jj. But, i am becoming concerned that you may be dulusional.

  12. - Lottery Operator GTECH - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 2:55 pm:

    It is likely that the lottery lease operator will be GTECH Corporation. Take a moment to Google: “GTECH scandal”, “GTECH corrupt”, “GTECH crooked”. I was amazed at the results. Perhaps it will become more clear as to why the push is on.

  13. - Anon from BB - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 2:55 pm:

    How long does everyone think the clock will be stuck at 11:59 p.m. in the Capitol on Saturday night?

  14. - jj - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 2:57 pm:

    I’ll stand by the only man who is working to get this done. Cross and his pink tie will do it, don’t worry.

    They even know how to spell delusional.

  15. - problem - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 3:00 pm:

    jj is right. Lottery - Why do you and your man madigan keep trying to spin your way out of having to get something done?

  16. - really now - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 4:21 pm:

    Leadership??? Lets see..The Senate President, Senate Minority Leader, House Minority Leader, AFL-CIO, numerous chamber organizations et al are all together on a capital bil. Madigan is one his own and without excuses. Who is the delusional one?

  17. - Champaign Mike - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 6:25 pm:

    jj spell check!!

    He was obviously checking to see if you wud and to no wons surprise you did! Ya gotta luv it.

    jj, did ya have ta look it up?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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