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Expect budget action today

Thursday, Jun 30, 2011

* One way or another, the governor has to act on the budget today

The fiscal year ends at midnight Thursday, so Quinn will want to have a new budget in place before that.

The Democratic governor isn’t a fan of the budget lawmakers sent him. He says it shortchanges education, human services and other critical needs.

But there is little Quinn can do. He has the power to cut appropriations but not to add to them.

Major spending increases would require blocking the entire budget and telling lawmakers to start over, which isn’t likely to happen.

Whatever he does, expect an attempt at making a big splash, although it will not include a public appearance. The governor’s schedule includes no planned events.

* Meanwhile, the pain continues unabated

The state has finished the fiscal year owing Knox County around $795,000 as Springfield’s financial woes continue to pressure local governments.

The new state budget year begins July 1 but the state is still four months behind in its distribution of income taxes to the county for the current fiscal year, leaving a $255,000 hole in the county’s general fund.

Also in arrears are salary reimbursements for the state’s attorney, supervisor of assessments and public defender. The state is six months or more behind in payments for each of those salaries, with the total amount outstanding close to $140,000. […]

The county has had to use creative methods to compensate for the delays in state funding, including shifting money from the county’s landfill account to its general fund to make up for the loss. Some county employees took lower raises than were agreed in their union contracts.

I know I’ve said this countless times already, but the state continues to be one of the biggest problems in Illinois’ economy.

* And while state budget cuts are obviously needed, they create yet another drag on the economy. From the Wall Street Journal

Weakness in the state and local government sector has been a drag on the recovery, as governments of states, counties, school districts and other entities cut spending and jobs amid diminished revenue. The state and local government sector subtracted 0.5% from U.S. gross domestic product growth in the first quarter—one factor behind the sluggish 1.9% quarterly growth rate, adjusted for inflation.

Despite the improved tax revenue, the government sector is expected to continue weighing on growth. That’s because the estimated $135 billion in federal stimulus funds that states have used to balance their budgets through the recession is now gone, which explains in part why states continue to cut services despite growing tax collections.

“With more employment cuts on the horizon, the sector will continue to exert a large drag on the U.S. economy,” Gregory Daco, an economist with research firm IHS Global Insight, wrote in a note to clients.

* I don’t know whether this is just bureaucratic incompetence or a lack of money, but one local economy is suffering because the state hasn’t replaced a sewer pump

Work to get the campgrounds and concession stand at Illini State Park reopened may begin within days — but it still may be “several weeks” before the project is completed.

A faulty sewage pump has kept the campgrounds, showers and flush toilets closed since May 2 and prevented C.P.’s Ice Cream from opening for the summer season.

The shutdown also has cut sharply into critical summer revenue from campers and visitors for many Marseilles businesses. […]

A petition drive earlier this month organized by the Illinois River Area Chamber of Commerce garnered 2,133 signatures, including many from out of town.

The petition, which urged prompt action on the pump repair, was sent on June 17 to Gov. Pat Quinn, with copies to Mautino, state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, and state Rep. Pam Roth, R-Morris.

Hey, IDNR, it’s almost July.

* And the lack of a signed gaming expansion bill is causing cutbacks at Fairmount

Fairmount Park will end its live racing meet three weeks early this season — on Sept. 9 — after the Illinois Racing Board on Tuesday approved a request from Fairmount president and chief executive Brian Zander to reduce the schedule because of a shortage of money… The board had originally awarded the track 75 racing days last September on the hope that the Illinois Legislature would pass a gaming expansion bill.

* Related…

* Property tax appeal board could get extra money

* Naperville chamber hears from Quinn’s budget guru: “In this last session, we saw the committees going deeper into the works, larger parts of committees actually working, asking questions, making suggestions, making changes,” Vaught said. “And I think that’s a significant process improvement.”

* Highway Districts On State Chopping Block

* Quinn makes no commitment to casino bill during Rockford visit

* Civic group urges cutting City Council, privatizing Midway

- Posted by Rich Miller        

11 Comments
  1. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Jun 30, 11 @ 8:28 am:

    It has been obvious for days, if not weeks that the budget submitted to Quinn would not have additional funds. Why has he delayed signing it? The same logic can be applied to the Casino bill. Does not this man understand that indecision is a sap on the economy and taxpayer confidence? But, after all, he is the Cheesiest!


  2. - Give Me A Break - Thursday, Jun 30, 11 @ 8:33 am:

    Cinci: The GA did not send the Gov the budget until Tuesday, he can’t sign what they have not sent him.


  3. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Jun 30, 11 @ 8:36 am:

    GMaB,

    Do you know the rationale behind the GA delay?


  4. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Jun 30, 11 @ 9:09 am:

    - Do you know the rationale behind the GA delay? -

    Cinci, try not to hyperventilate here. Should the Governor just blindly sign everything the GA sends him immediately? He’s already told everyone he’s going to use his AV to make some changes, so he’s obviously figuring out what those changes will be.


  5. - TwoFeetThick - Thursday, Jun 30, 11 @ 9:10 am:

    Cincinnatus,

    While there often are double-super-secret reasons for the GA taking its time in transmitting bills to the governor, and sometimes publicly stated reasons (like with the gaming bill), sometimes it also just takes time. As long as the GA gets the bills to the gov by today, they know he has time to sign them. They could have held the bills in a weak attempt to try and prevent the gov from having time to “improve” them, but who knows.


  6. - Capt. Illini - Thursday, Jun 30, 11 @ 10:20 am:

    Rich, don’t fault IDNR, look into the procurment law signed last year…talk about FUBAR, it prevents even the least amount of common sense in buying anything in less than six months…


  7. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Jun 30, 11 @ 10:34 am:

    He can slash other areas of the budget setting the stage for a supplemental approp, but that’s about it.


  8. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 30, 11 @ 12:39 pm:

    Let’s not forget the state is borrowing from everyone else — local governments and vendors. They’re just not doing it in the securities market where they could get a better rate.


  9. - Leatherneck - Thursday, Jun 30, 11 @ 12:50 pm:

    Anyone know when today the bills will be signed? And I also wonder the same thing that YDD is thinking–but would you be surprised if today the Governor simply signs the budget bills as they are then comes back a few weeks later with revised agency appropriations (i.e. cuts)–similar to what he did in July 2009?


  10. - Angry Chicagoan - Thursday, Jun 30, 11 @ 3:18 pm:

    SIgn the bill and find a few more things to cut so that the treasurer can get a start on paying down the bills.


  11. - Ghost - Thursday, Jun 30, 11 @ 3:29 pm:

    But Wordlsinger we need to run the State like a private business…and when I private buisness needs money to pay its past due obligations and expenses it does’t borrow money!

    Did the car companie borrow money from the taxpayers when they were bankrupt?

    Did the banking and investment inductry borrow money when they crashed the economy?

    its just crazy to think that borrowing money to cacth up our bills, inject capital into the economy and keep a multidue of small business from closing is a good plan. No we need to tighten our belt and slow the economy down!

    Fortunetly the GOP is interested in protecting buiness and spurring its growth….by insuring that the State never pays those small buisinesses bills bills….nothing sparks growth and job creation like not being paid, shuutting down and laying of workers.

    This is Illinois!


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