* I told subscribers about this yesterday…
Quinn’s office told state agencies on Wednesday to begin planning to make do with that budget for the coming year, in case nothing better is approved.
In a letter to the agencies, Chief of Staff Jerome Stermer called it a “very challenging and unpleasant task” because it could mean cutting services that “sustain the lives and well being of hundreds of thousands of our neediest citizens.”
Those cuts may have to be deeper than first thought.
Quinn’s office says the budget passed by lawmakers does not include enough money to match the much-reduced level of spending it contains. In other words, it was designed to eliminate the deficit but contains a deficit of its own. Quinn aides said they were still calculating the size of the gap.
The guv’s office and the Democratic leadership of the General Assembly already know pretty well what the size of that deficit is. And it ain’t pretty. We’re looking at huge cuts (including big cuts to personnel) on top of the “50 percent” funding included in the budget. It’ll be a horror show.
So when you see comments like this…
“I think this all becomes a political game,” said Rep. Rich Brauer, R-Petersburg. “They didn’t cut into the bureaucracy. They cut into the service providers.”
You can be assured that people like Rep. Brauer are about to get their wish…
[AFSCME] is convinced, though, that the budget approved by lawmakers contains enough shortfalls that layoffs are inevitable.
And then some.
* The AP did give me a hat tip in the piece for reporting that Senate President John Cullerton had placed a parliamentary hold on the budget. Thanks for that. But, actually, it was first tipped here in comments.
Cullerton’s press secretary explains why he did what he did…
“Following our meeting with the governor on Monday, it was made very clear to us that the Governor did not support the budget that we sent him, and in fact he may even veto it, so we simply took that option off the table, and we hope to work with the governor and the other caucuses in coming up with a revenue solution that works for everyone.”
* Besides a big rally at the Thompson Center, here’s what we’re looking forward to today…
Gov. Pat Quinn and top lawmakers are supposed to resume their budget negotiations Thursday, the same day a special panel is to suggest ways to streamline Illinois government. […]
They may get some help from the Taxpayer Action Board, which Quinn created earlier this year. The board has spent about two months looking at government operations and ways they could be improved.
On which the Tribune editorializes…
Civic groups and think tanks have smothered Springfield in proposals for managed care and other structural reforms that would help patients and taxpayers alike. Statehouse leaders merely bury their heads, as if this staple of private sector insurance is some foreign and dangerous interloper.
But not one word of the budgetary consequences of those moves. And not one acknowledgment of the state’s severe revenue problems…
the state faces about $5 billion less in revenues this year compared to last.
* And here’s what happens when you try to cut something. Even the GOP objects…
The plan, known as “hold harmless”, guarantees that schools will not get less funding than they received in 1997 even if their enrollments drop. Attendance is a key factor in setting the amount of state aid. […]
[Recently] the state education board said schools will likely get half of their “hold harmless” funding for the 2009-10 school year and then none of it the following year. That’s in the proposed state budget, but it has not yet been signed into law. […]
“Well I think it will be very challenging for the districts,” said state Rep. Sandra Pihos, a Glen Ellyn Republican, whose DuPage County district includes several schools that would lose money. “I think they should have had some forewarning and that if the hold harmless was going to go away then it should have been decreased incrementally so they could adjust to those funding levels.”
* And here’s what everybody’s up against…
Forty years ago when the General Assembly enacted Richard Ogilvie’s income tax plan, those who voted in favor largely were run out of office, recalls former Alsip schools Supt. Bill Smith. He was on the Senate floor with former state Sen. Frank Ozinga, of Evergreen Park, during the historic roll call.
“At some point, (Senate Republican Leader Russ) Arrington realized he had the votes necessary, and so he said to (Democratic Leader Arthur McGloon), ‘I’ve got enough votes. Release your people.’
“But McGloon said to Russ, ‘I promised you 12 votes, and you’ll get 12 votes.’”
Smith shared the story to demonstrate bipartisanship of the 1970s. Democratic and Republican leaders worked together to accomplish major reform, a scenario that would never happen today. […]
Most of the 12 Senate Democrats who supported Ogilvie’s income tax lost their re-election bids.
* Finally, the Illinois Times asked to reprint part of my end-of-session wrapup for subscribers. I said OK…
The Democratic Party was given a clear mandate in the past two election cycles, but they completely blew it last week.
The Senate has more than a three-fifths majority, the House is just shy of a veto-proof majority. The governor, who was installed by the Democratic legislature after it ousted his unpopular and obstructionist predecessor by force of law, is a Democrat. The former governor’s sidekick Senate president is gone. They had no excuses this time.
Yet, here we are, once again without a viable budget and in overtime session. The third in a row under Democratic leadership.
And what did the Democrats do? They blamed Republicans for not bailing them out by putting votes on the tax hike plan. The House Democrats, who control 70 seats in that chamber, came up short on a tax hike in the House, yet they tried to claim it was the Republicans’ fault. The Dems demanded the GOPs go along even after House Speaker Michael Madigan spent the past five months jamming the House Republicans every chance he could get.
Yes, the Republicans could have and should have put their state’s interests ahead of their desire to pay back Madigan for all the ill treatment he’s dished out. There are several House Republicans who were willing to make a deal on a tax hike but who were not willing to cross House GOP leader Tom Cross. And the Republicans may eventually end up wearing the jacket for this debacle if the government disintegrates and they show no willingness to do something. But this has been a Democratic show from the beginning of the session and Sunday’s end was a complete and utter Democratic failure. Instead of finding solutions on their own, and on time, they have put the Republicans in a position of control.
You cannot tell me with a straight face that Speaker Madigan did any serious heavy lifting this session. When real leadership was required, he sat back and let the train of government go completely off the tracks.
Read the rest by clicking here.
* Press release: Governor’s Thursday schedule
* Outgoing Corrections director gets new state job
* Roger Walker heading for Prisoner Review Board
* Governor makes new pension board picks
* Health care crippling the economy
* Quinn must champion cuts to win tax hike
* Schoenburg: Key to tax-hike OK proving elusive for Gov. Quinn
* Suburban schools funding could lose political protection
* Lack of state budget leaves SIU hanging
* State can’t afford to reject savings that are ‘too small’
* Give legislators ‘F’ on handling state finances
* Capital bill funds for city stalled