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More budget details begin to emerge

Monday, Mar 30, 2015 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Whenever the General Assembly rams through complicated, lengthy legislation in a day or three, it usually takes the media a few more days to catch up

Under the plan, spending on general state aid to schools would be slashed by $150 million in the final three months of the fiscal year.

The plan does give Rauner access to a $97 million slush fund to dole out to schools who are having trouble making it to the end of the year.

But, there are no guidelines for how that money can be spent.

That has some downstate lawmakers worried the whole thing was designed to allow Rauner to simply funnel the money to Chicago public schools.

According to a spreadsheet I obtained from the Illinois State Board of Education, Chicago is on pace to run short of funds before the fiscal year ends, meaning it could potentially qualify for some of the money.

* And

Stolen vehicle task forces around the state are shutting down offices instead of chop shops as new state budget strategies siphon mandatory insurance fees from police work into the state’s gaping budget hole.

Some of the six auto theft task forces in the state have been around since 1992, one year after statute created a $1-per-policy car insurance fee to fund police teams dedicated to car theft investigations. The money frequently reimbursed salaries for agencies that contributed manpower to the task forces.

But an executive order Gov. Bruce Rauner issued Jan. 12 froze that pool of money, along with hundreds of millions of dollars in other state funds deemed nonessential spending.

The General Assembly approved a measure last week that sweeps more than $1 billion from various accounts into the state’s general fund, including $6 million in auto theft task force grants — roughly a year of income for the groups derived not from tax dollars but from insurance premiums.

* And

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s signed budget fix will end in a $1.7 million cut for Illinois State University in the last months of its fiscal year.

Through the original appropriation bill, ISU was supposed to receive $74 million for this current fiscal year from the state.

According to Chief of Staff Jay Groves, the signed budget cut was about 2.25 percent of the original budget, which brought the budget down to about $72.3 million.


  1. - Cassandra - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:05 am:

    Wasn’t it a lot easier to steal a car in 1992 than it is today, with all of the new electronics. How many car theft task forces do we need.

  2. - Carhartt Representative - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:06 am:

    Downstate lawmakers have nothing to worry about. Rauner won’t spend the money on CPS, it’ll go to charters.

  3. - Mama - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:14 am:

    ++$6 million in auto theft task force grants — roughly a year of income for the groups derived not from tax dollars but from insurance premiums.++ What the heck is wrong with these people? IL just gave car thieves an open season. The insurance companies will be asking for their money back.

  4. - Wordslinger - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:16 am:

    Reduced regulation leads to opportunity for business growth.

    Chop shops.

    I kid.

  5. - 47th Ward - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:17 am:

    ===How many car theft task forces do we need.===

    Yeah. I want my $1 back.

  6. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:18 am:

    == Chicago is on pace to run short of funds before the fiscal year ends==

    iirc, CPS passed a 12 month budget using 14 months of revenue. They reached ahead 2 months into the next budget year to fund this year’s budget.

    It’s a train wreck.

  7. - JS Mill - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:23 am:

    @FKA- I am so completely shocked that CPS would do something like that! /snark

  8. - Rod - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:26 am:

    Kurt Erickson’s article is confused when he writes: “The plan does give Rauner access to a $97 million slush fund to dole out to schools who are having trouble making it to the end of the year. But, there are no guidelines for how that money can be spent.” This is not actually correct.

    What is now Public Act 099-0001 states specifically “The amount of $97,000,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is appropriated from the General Revenue Fund to the State Board of Education to be expended, upon written direction of the State Board of Education to the Comptroller, Clerk of the House, and Secretary of the Senate, for school districts in financial distress for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015.” (Article 9 section 10)

    So Governor Rauner does not have the power to direct these funds, nor from the language of the bill does ISBE President Meeks or the Superintendent, but only the full Board. The Board could in theory transfer this power, but the bill does not authorize that in anyway.

    PA 099-0001 does have a standard for who gets this money: At section 20 of the Act we can read the following: “For the purposes of this Article, the State Board of Education may consider the following in determining a school district in financial distress: (a) Designated on the State Board of Education’s School District Financial Profile as being on financial warning or financial watch status pursuant to Section 1A-8 of the School Code; or (b) Shows evidence of diminished cash-on-hand as calculated utilizing the district’s ending cash balances from the Annual Financial Report submission for fiscal year 2014 pursuant to Section 3-7, Section 3-15.1 and Section 34-43.1 of the School Code and revenue and expenditure data from the district’s budget submission pursuant to Section 17-1 and Section 34-43 of the School Code for the fiscal year 2015.”

    CPS would likely qualify for some of this money, but given the fact that ISBE itself is composed of a majority by law who geographically represent regions outside the City of Chicago (ARTICLE III ISBE BYLAWS ) CPS getting a disproportionate share of that $97 million is not likely.

  9. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:28 am:

    ==Chop shops.==

    @FakeGovRauner asks ==Can we count those jobs in next month’s jobs report? Maybe under manufacturing or sales?==

    @FakeVCRauner asks ==Can we invest in it? Lots of growth coming in that market.== /s

  10. - PMcP - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:31 am:

    To be fair to CPS, Governmental Accounting Standards allow you to recognize revenue over that period if the tax itself was assessed in the 12-month period but not paid until after. It’s like saying 0-60 days in AR aging is considered current; the articles make it seem like they are recognizing future-assessments for current-year budget and, if so, that would be a big issue but I haven’t seen anything dive deeper into it at this point.

  11. - Arsenal - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:38 am:

    “Gov. Bruce Rauner’s signed budget fix will…”

    This is why governors own the budgets.

  12. - Ghost - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:39 am:

    Something has to give. I support pulling money from tracking stolen goods if it is ised to support programs to help working parent woth child cate, drug rehab etc.

    Also most schools have a slaush fund. So this small cut to them is not a bad idea given the fiscal problems.

  13. - Jogger - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:40 am:

    Oh please, the Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Council has built up a fund balance of about one year’s revenues since 1991. Good for them for spending less than revenues, but to say they will be shutting down offices and it’s open season to steal cars is just nonsense. The funds are not being used currently. If revenues have been more than sufficient to support expenses for that long, perhaps the mandatory fee should be reduced in the future. I have no problem with these funds being swept.

  14. - Concerned Citizen - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:44 am:

    The auto theft task forces recovered over 1400 stolen vehicles statewide during 2014. In today’s economy the vehicle many times is the tool necessary for the bread winner of the family to get to and from work and a loss of the family car many times leads to unemployment.
    In the inner cities one car stolen at a senior center becomes the loss for many as it is utilized to transport the many in need to the store, doctor, or pharmacy.
    Has anyone stopped to realize the program was a partnership with the insurance industry using their money to invest in protecting the citizens of Illinois by funding the auto theft task forces.
    The state seized private funding when they seized 6 million dollars from the trust fund.

  15. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:53 am:

    @JS Mill - Rahm is also shocked to discover these budget gimmicks taking place in Chicago lol. Though it really is shocking they did that and may still run out of money this year.

    Looks like Karen Lewis nailed it The S-T and Trib were both brutal after CPS passed that budget in July.

  16. - sparky791 - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 11:58 am:

    -Also most schools have a slush fund. So this small cut to them is not a bad idea given the fiscal problems.-

    LOL-Your kidding right?

  17. - anonin' - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 12:04 pm:

    Wonderin’ if ISBE will be tellin’ everyone who is askin’ for the slush or just who gets it.
    BTW Chi legislators are bettin’ lots goes to DS and Burbs GOPies with “emergencies”
    If you read the rest of the bill BVR gets $90 million to preserve headcount

  18. - JS Mill - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 12:15 pm:

    =Also most schools have a slaush fund. So this small cut to them is not a bad idea given the fiscal problems.= If you are talking about Fund Balances then you are correct. But, we don’t have “slush” funds.

    We try to keep adequate fund balances (the state suggests 180 days cash on hand) for a variety of reasons. Some are due to long term planning targets, late payments (which happen often) and skipped payments.

    The 2.25% is in ADDITION to the 10% reduction in required funding of GSA that was already in place.

    Not to mention big reductions in mandated categorical requirements like transportation.

  19. - Demoralized - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:07 pm:

    ==Also most schools have a slaush fund. So this small cut to them is not a bad idea given the fiscal problems.==

    Some of y’all don’t get that this cut is magnified by the fact that there are only a few months left in the year. There was no time to plan. Things could get ugly in some districts.

  20. - Higher Ed - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:31 pm:

    = Gov. Bruce Rauner’s signed budget fix will end in a $1.7 million cut for Illinois State University in the last months of its fiscal year.=
    ALL the public universities were cut by 2.25% in this bill. Why is it just an ISU story?

  21. - Demoralized - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:36 pm:

    ==Why is it just an ISU story?==

    The story comes from the ISU newspaper. That’s why.

  22. - JS Mill - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:37 pm:

    =Things could get ugly in some districts.=

    Demo, if I may offer a modification to your statement statement- Things are could get UGLIER in some districts.

    Some districts are in desperate shape.

  23. - Original Rambler - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:50 pm:

    Re auto theft task force: another day, another commenter with a sacrosanct state program.

  24. - Cassandra - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 2:12 pm:

    I don’t want to beat this to death, but if somebody steals my car, I can find it myself on my cell. There is a GPS locator in the car. There must be a lot of these now.

  25. - Kissfreak - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 2:22 pm:

    The stolen motor vehicle task forces are a farce. If the ISP testifies before committee in an attempt to retain the task forces, ask them 2 simple questions… Of all the vehicles you recovered in the past year,how many were recovered as a result of another jurisdiction’s previous recovery of the same motor vehicle? And… Of all the arrests you reported the last year, how many of these individuals were counted towards your stats as a result of another jurisdiction’s recovery and arrest.

    90% of the stats these task forces produce are assist cases. Any department that is a member of the task force is mandated to call the task force for any and all stolen vehicle recoveries. Doesn’t matter if the recovery has suspects or not. An officer will trot out, take a few photos, interview any suspects, and call it a day. There is very few follow up cases as most recoveries are juvenile joyriders. The task force will open up a case, present internal documentation showing the recovery and any arrest, then close the case as an assist.

    So what does the task force do that the originating agency couldn’t do for themselves? They really didn’t recovery the vehicle nor arrest and suspects. And the sad part is those types of cases are the majority of their work. The other 10% can easily be investigated by the municipal, county or state. Don’t fret over the stolen vehicle task forces being dismembered. Those resources for a through investigation still remain.

  26. - persecuted - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 2:46 pm:

    I would just like to hear what their actual views are and how they would vote on all the important issues of the day. All this brouhaha is not of any use is choosing for whom I wish to vote…I am an Independent.

  27. - persecuted - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 2:54 pm:

    Sorry, my comment was supposed to be on Duckworth vs Kirk.

  28. - Ghost - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 3:34 pm:

    Sparky nope. Average school district has savings/reserve to operate for 3 months. Some have even greater reserves. The teserves are for /drumroll emergencies. We have a fiscal emergency so time time to draw down the reserves.

  29. - Ghost - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 3:37 pm:

    Some districts have enough to operate for 12 months.

  30. - Anon. - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 4:12 pm:

    **@FakeGovRauner asks ==Can we count those jobs in next month’s jobs report? Maybe under manufacturing or sales?==**

    Construction! Everyone loves construction jobs!

  31. - sparky791 - Tuesday, Mar 31, 15 @ 12:23 am:

    Nice study from 2010. Think things might be a little different now? That’s great that SOME districts have cash reserves for 12 months. I know A LOT of rural districts in Illinois have enough working cash for about one or two months at most. This will ruin them. And this deduction is in addition to state also not making up payments they are behind and owe. Any bets on whether Rauner will save downstate rural schools in time of need?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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