*** UPDATE 1 *** Cassiopeia’s comment was so good that I felt the need to front page it…
This budget negates a significant part [of] the fiscal crisis argument that Madigan puts forth in SB1.
From Madigan’s “statements and findings” passage…
Notwithstanding these and many other steps and their major fiscal, economic, and human impact, the fiscal situation in Illinois continues to deteriorate. […]
The General Assembly finds that the fiscal crisis in the State of Illinois jeopardizes the health, safety, and welfare of the people and compromises the ability to maintain a representative and orderly government.
It’s difficult to see evidence of that in this particular budget.
[ *** End Of Update *** ]
* As usual, Illinois Issues has a great budget rundown…
Both higher education and K-12 will be funded at essentially flat levels, compared to the current fiscal year. Human services would see cuts under the plan, but the outlook is not nearly as gloomy as it seemed just a few weeks ago. Sponsors of the various budget bills say that the situation would have been much bleaker if a windfall of $1.5 billion in unexpected revenues had not come in. “In April, there was a large surge because people sold a bunch of assets at the end of [Fiscal Year] ‘12 in anticipation of capital gains rate changes,” said Rep. Greg Harris, who sponsored the human services budget bill. […]
While Republicans blasted the spending in the proposal, Harris, who took over the human services budgeting committee this year, said this is the first budget in recent years that will fully fund human services. “We’ve made cuts across the board but we’ve retained funding in core community services such as mental health, substance abuse, homelessness programs,” he said. This year and several other times in recent history, human services agencies have had to come back to the General Assembly midway through the fiscal year and ask for more money to avoid the shutdown of programs. “In other years, they’ve not appropriated for a full year, and they’ve always come back for [supplemental spending bills]. … We wanted to pass something that was fully reflective of the realities of each department’s need,” he said. “I would say woe betide the department that comes back to us with a supplemental [request] this year.”
The budget does not explicitly include the raises promised to state union workers in a new contract. But personnel costs are provided in lump sums, and each agency is left to figure out how to work in the raises. “What we accounted for was their FY 14 raises, and they way we did that was to give our departments maximum flexibility.” […]
Some of the unexpected revenue would be used to immediately pay down nearly $600 million in old human services bills. Harris said many of those payments would be eligible for federal matching funds under Medicaid. Some of the additional revenues were incorporated to the revenue estimate for next fiscal year and will be used to defer cuts to education and corrections.
Go read the whole thing.
* Finke is also definitely worth a read…
Quinn’s budget office said it does not believe the spending plan approved by House Democrats will result in layoffs at state agencies. However, several agency directors said they will not be able to fill vacancies. […]
Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, chairman of the House Human Services Appropriations Committee, said larger human services agencies will see about a 2.5 percent reduction in the amount allocated for their operations. Richard Calica, director of the Department of Children and Family Services, said his agency is looking at about a $7 million cut in staffing expenses, which will result in the department not filling vacancies. […]
Harris, though, said the budgets for human services agencies will maintain funding for mental health, substance abuse, community child care and homelessness-prevention services. Money for rape-victim assistance lost because of the federal sequester will be restored. Funding is also provided to the Department of Public Health to implement the medical marijuana program.
The Department of Corrections budget was also given a lump sum that agency officials could use as they see fit. Republicans argued that was giving Quinn and his agency directors too much leeway.
Again, read the whole thing.
* The Republicans said they weren’t happy…
Republicans wanted to hold the line on spending and use some of the additional April revenue to help pay down the state’s mountain of old bills. They said Democrats should not count on the one-time April money to build the budget, especially when a temporary income tax is set to expire next year.
“We’re on the brink of financial collapse,” said Rep. David Reis, R-Willow Hill.
One major issue that appears headed toward resolution between lawmakers and Quinn was the issue of back pay for members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees for the current and previous budget years. The $140 million was part of the union’s lengthy and often confrontational bargaining with the Quinn administration over a new contract.
But if union workers are to get contractually mandated raises in the upcoming budget year, state agencies will have to carefully manage the money they get.
In other budget developments, House Democrats approved an $844 million supplemental spending measure, largely to cover bills through the June 30 end of the budget year. Supporters said the measure would fund the payroll of state prison workers and allow the state to capture federal money and pay down past-due bills.
Harris is quick to point out the state will spend a little less of its own money next year, but will spend “hundreds of millions more” in federal dollars.
Bellock’s arithmetic differs. She said Illinois will spend anywhere between $45 million and $85 million more on human services this year. Much of that new spending will go to state workers.
* From Sen. Chapin Rose’s Facebook page this morning, regarding an appropriations hearing…
Gov’s guy just said they won’t adhere to all provisions of the newly signed AFSCME contract minted last month if the Dems budget bill passes.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Sen. Rose clarifies…
To be clear on the AFSMCE contract issue- Gov’s guy said they will need $140 million over and above the dem’s proposed budget to fund this and that they would have to come back and ask for more $ to pay it before they would.
* Quinn promises to sign Medicaid expansion after Senate’s passage
* State lawmakers looking to spare schools’ bus money
* How a retired teacher’s pension adds up to $400,000 - Little-known pension program sparks debate