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It’s only going to get worse

Wednesday, Apr 29, 2015

* The Fiscal Year 2015 budget fix is still reverberating

Katharine Gricevich told the Senate higher education committee Tuesday the $8.4 million cut made by Gov. Bruce Rauner as part of a budget fix means about 3,000 eligible students won’t receive grants this fiscal year through the state’s Monetary Award Program. She is the commission’s director of government relations. […]

About 128,000 students are expected to receive MAP grants this year.

* WHBF-TV

The state has slashed more than $50 million of their Medicaid funding for the rest of this fiscal year. The cuts stem from legislation that was passed to try to fill this year’s budget hole, but health care providers say federal guidelines prohibited some of the cuts to nursing homes.

“We have staffing standards from the state of Illinois, we have mandated services from the federal government that we have to provide,” said Steve Wannemacher of the Health Care Council of Illinois.

Nursing home officials said they’re scrambling to figure out how to make their funds stretch through June. They’re look to make cuts in areas like administration, transportation and dining.

* Finke

Pat Comstock, executive director of the Health Care Council of Illinois, said nursing homes expected to see a $27 million reduction as a result of what state lawmakers approved.

“Our members were prepared for that,” she said.

But when the Rauner administration announced the additional cuts late last week, the total hit to nursing homes had risen to $55 million.

The administration said that some areas of the budget could not be reduced because of federal restrictions or court mandates. As a result, other areas had to take a deeper reduction, and one of those was Medicaid reimbursements for nursing homes. Nursing homes face a 12.6 percent reduction in rates.

“Medicaid is the core of our business,” Wilson said.

None of this is welcomed news. None of this can be celebrated.

But, man, there’s a $6 billion Fiscal Year 2016 budget hole staring this state in the face. So, if you think the screaming is loud now, just wait a few weeks.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

53 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:18 am:

    ===…cut made by Gov. Bruce Rauner…===

    The Rauner Cuts.

    Rauner is choosing. They are his cuts.


  2. - CharlieKratos - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:24 am:

    And the fact that they are Rauner cuts will mean absolutely nothing until he’s up for reelection, if it even means anything then. We’re not dealing with someone who cares about anyone’s opinion that he considers beneath him. And, in his opinion, we’re all beneath him.


  3. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:26 am:

    I still don’t understand why the governor tried to bank those phoney savings in his FY16 proposal, unless he thinks he can talk the GA into shorting the pensions again after years of good behavior on that front.


  4. - walker - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:28 am:

    Just wait until the local mayors get back some of “their” distributive funding. They seem to be confident, as do some Republican Senators, but that has to come from somewhere else.

    The hole might be even more than $6B.


  5. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:41 am:

    The Arduin Axe is wielded without emotion or sympathy.

    You cut ==stuff== from the budget, hit your numbers and move on while ignoring the screams of pain and cries for help it gives birth to.


  6. - Downstate - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:42 am:

    Our city officials are already anticipating cuts, planning has started.

    I’m involved with a non-profit that lost nearly 40% of it’s state support several years back). We weathered the storm, because the director started drawing up contingency plans well prior to the cuts being implemented.

    At this point, if you are receiving state monies, you can lobby all you want. But sound management would dictate that cut-backs are coming, and pre-planning is critical.


  7. - Dudeman - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:44 am:

    So we have years of fiscal mismanagement and this Governor is left holding the bag and is trying to fix it. There will be no cuts that he makes that will be popular. I’m glad someone is trying to be the grown-up, even if he makes cuts that will hurt people. Raising taxes didn’t solve the problem and weren’t on track to solving the problem.


  8. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:46 am:

    The administration said that some areas of the budget could not be reduced because of federal restrictions or court mandates. As a result, other areas had to take a deeper reduction, and one of those was Medicaid reimbursements for nursing homes. Nursing homes face a 12.6 percent reduction in rates.

    Read that twice and tell me how this administration is prioritizing. This is little more than number crunching and nothing to do with governing. There was no consideration regarding how the initial cut was equitably divided?

    This isn’t shared sacrifice at all. This is “find out how has legal priority to the money, then slam the door on those how don’t have judges or lawyers”.

    IF this governor wants smaller government, he needs to pursue smaller government. What he is doing is running government in a way that requires extralegal barriers supported by larger government. Bruce Rauner, through his administration’s actions, are ensuring more federal regulations, more financial oversight, more barriers to accomplishing budgetary goals.

    If Bruce Rauner only rewards those with protective big guns preventing him from taking what has been ruled as a priority, then eventually everyone will need to have those same protectors.

    He is damaging those smaller players who do not have the legal and governmental connections with heavier budget cuts. His actions are necessitating legal and government protection throughout his term in office.

    Bruce Rauner is building a more complex and more inefficient government.

    This seems to be our curse. We have a governor who is so ignorant of government and so focused on cost numbers, he is actually making things worse, even for himself. He is so confident in his ability to add, he fails at understanding how to subtract!


  9. - How Ironic - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:49 am:

    Go figure…he’s going to bankrupt the nursing homes. Perhaps he’ll issue a EO, outlining how to ‘bust out’ the last vestige of profits before the go out of business?


  10. - Huh? - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:50 am:

    I am not sure that anybody is saying that cuts are not required. It would be nice to get some explanation as to why specific cuts are being made. The cuts appear to be aimed at the members of our society that are least able to fend for themselves.


  11. - Mama - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:52 am:

    ++ there’s a $6 billion Fiscal Year 2016 budget hole staring this state in the face. ++ Does all $6B have to be cut from the state FY16 budget by July 1, 2016?


  12. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:53 am:

    ===The cuts appear to be aimed at the members of our society that are least able to fend for themselves===

    Unfortunately, that’s where much of the money is.

    If you don’t cut schools, and you don’t close corporate loopholes or raise taxes, you gotta cut somewhere.


  13. - Downstate - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:54 am:

    VM,
    In reading you item, I’m reminded of a conversation with a local school administrator.
    They are facing a variety of cutbacks which require laying off staff, reducing services, etc.
    Some of that pain could be avoided, if they were able to get out from under “unfunded mandates” - those rules put on by well meaning lawmakers, that only add to the financial burdens for the districts.

    I read that same thing into the passage you cited. Rauner doesn’t have a free hand in this. There’s only so many areas that can be touched.


  14. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:55 am:

    Though, in fairness to my prior post, Rauner would not be forced into this position had his predecessors and the ILGA served as better stewards.

    At this point - after seeing many years of gimmicks such as fund sweeps, repurposed funds, odd revenue projections and the FY15 fantasy budget - banking questionable savings in a budget proposal has sadly gone from being ==outrageous== to ==just another day in the life of an Illinois budget==.


  15. - Mama - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:55 am:

    How bad does the federal FY2016 budget look in terms of the funds IL gets from the feds? In other words, can any of the $6B hole be offset by federal funds?


  16. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:56 am:

    Mama, ain’t gonna be no federal bailout.


  17. - Chris - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:58 am:

    “ain’t gonna be no federal bailout”

    OBAMA TO ILLINOIS: DROP DEAD!


  18. - The Dude Abides - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:59 am:

    @Dudeman, actually raising taxes were helping quite a bit. The higher taxes had cut the backlog of unpaid bills in half, from about 9 billion to around 4.5 billion.
    Of course some cuts have to be made and many of them will be unpopular. The problem with Rauner’s cuts so far is that there is no shared sacrifice, the cuts are being aimed at the poorest and most vulnerable.


  19. - MrJM - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 11:01 am:

    “I’m glad someone is trying to be the grown-up, even if he makes cuts that will hurt people.”

    Your “grown-up” increased the funding for FREE motorcycle lessons.

    “Raising taxes didn’t solve the problem and weren’t on track to solving the problem.”

    Asking the legislature to let the temporary tax increase lapse certainly made the problem worse.

    Now ask your supervisor to give you a new set of talking points, yours have been crushed repeatedly.

    – MrJM


  20. - Langhorne - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 11:02 am:

    When will any of the leaders put forward a package that holds together, is constitutional, and works? The “easier said than done” blog entry recently, while flawed, at least attempted to be comprehensive. Rant over. No one wants to go first.

    Maybe madigan ought to put some of the leading, and even competing, advocates together and see what they can come up with. IMA, civic federation, chamber, unions, hospitals, etc. At least compile a list and do estimates for various options. Ok, back from fantasy land to reality.


  21. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 11:14 am:

    Well, I don’t know, maybe some federal monies for DCFS? DCFS’ latest director is reportedly en route to DC, to ask. If he finds anything substantive,
    kudos to him, And questions-why didn’t any of his many, many predecessors find them while the state was under one-party rule this past decade.


  22. - How Ironic - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 11:16 am:

    @ Langhorne,
    “Maybe madigan ought to put some of the leading, and even competing, advocates together and see what they can come up with.”

    Newsflash….Madigan isn’t the Gov. The GOV needs to propose the budget, and outline HIS cuts. Why are you advocating that the GOV shirk his legal responsibilities?


  23. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 11:22 am:

    Rauner doesn’t have a free hand in this. There’s only so many areas that can be touched.

    But because of those restrictions, which save the other programs, there will be new ones coming to save the ones being “touched”, (more like gutted), today.

    This administration took out the protected programs which couldn’t be cut, but didn’t alter the total amount to cut, due to that protection - which meant that those who weren’t protected betting beaten doubly hard, instead of proportionally.

    That is bad government.
    This is making government bigger, not smaller.
    That isn’t shared sacrifice, at all.

    Rauner is guaranteeing that in the future, governor’s hands on budget cuts - will be tied even further than they are today.


  24. - DuPage - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 11:23 am:

    In the private sector Rauner had experience with wringing the money out of nursing homes and leaving them bankrupt. Maybe he thinks that is how to run state government as well. Many smaller nursing homes are family-owned small businesses, the very people Rauner says he wants to help. This will force many out of business.


  25. - Langhorne - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 11:28 am:

    HIronic

    I am not advocating the gov shirk his duty as gov. He is already doing that by committing to one narrow painful path, to the exclusion of everything else–unless dems drink his koolaid–and do things they never will.

    I just want a public discussion and evaluation of options. We have seen how well the GA does enacting big things in a hurry


  26. - Carhartt Representative - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 11:29 am:

    If there is one thing Rauner has experience at it’s cutting nursing home spending. This should surprise nobody–nor should the tragic eventual outcome.


  27. - DuPage - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 11:33 am:

    @Mama 10:55 =federal funds=

    Some of the cuts were payments that were matched or partly reimbursed by federal funds. Example, if the state cuts a million on something with federal match, the program ends up 2 million short. This budget move will be disastrous.


  28. - MurMan - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 11:35 am:

    Vanilla Man, I don’t think Rauner is focused on “governing” right now. Governing, as I would define it, is finding common ground with the other side of the isle to pass legislation to help the people of Illinois and strengthen IL.

    Rauner wants IL to be a right to work state with a variety of conservative economic and tax policies that will “attract” jobs and grow IL’s economy. The Democratically controlled GA disagrees fundamentally with that approach.

    Rauner didn’t go to Springfield to find a compromise solution. This a hostile takeover of state government. (3 step process)

    Step 1: raise a bunch of money to keep your members in line and peel off weak Democrats. ✔️

    Step 2: create crisis that causes (or will cause) so much pain and hardship that Democrats give in to his demands in order to stop the suffering ✔️

    Step 3: after Dems cave and agree to his economic “vision” for IL then start governing…

    I’m a pretty liberal Democrat, so I never thought aid say this and mean it, but thank god for Speaker Madigan


  29. - Mister Whipple - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 11:41 am:

    And at what point will someone ask the gov (during the rare media availability) whether nursing homes patients, the mentally ill, the poor who have a Medicaid card, college students, etc. are the fat and corruption he talked about during the campaign. You know, those laggards whose services can be cut to save the state so much money so the government can be run so much more efficiently.


  30. - Juvenal - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 11:49 am:

    Cassandra -

    DCFS receives over $450 million in federal funding each year.

    Maybe it can be increased, but the funding levels are pretty formulaic. You can only claim what you can claim, and for the most part I would guess Illinois is losing claiming because of kids that are in psych hospitals, which the feds will not reimburse you for, instead of providing services that prevent the need for hospitalization, which will be cut.


  31. - Federalist - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 12:00 pm:

    Nursing home costs are the Achillee’s heal of Medicaid. The cost per person is overwhelming and will continue to grow well beyond the state’s growth in financial resources.

    The Medicaid costs for young children are relatively low but for those in nursing homes it is a ticking financial time bomb.

    And it will get worse as more and more people get old, have low incomes or spent their money when they were younger and rely on SS almost entirely.

    Any suggestions?


  32. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 12:00 pm:

    Not 3 steps - 5:

    Step 1: raise a bunch of money to keep your members in line and peel off weak Democrats. ✔️

    Step 2: create crisis that causes (or will cause) so much pain and hardship that Democrats give in to his demands in order to stop the suffering ✔️

    Step 3: after Dems cave and agree to his economic “vision” for IL then start governing…

    Step 4: ????????????????

    Step 5: Illinois Turnaround (profit for the 1%)


  33. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 12:05 pm:

    Langhorne - well said. This begins with Rauner, but is not solely on Rauner. Everyone in Springfield must contribute to addressing this ==budget crisis== however they can.

    Including those who presided over the decades leading Illinois to this point. They should know the budget well enough by now to offer a few suggestions.

    Why not use some of those ==magic beans== Madigan was thinking of while proposing $100M for the Obama library?


  34. - Nick Danger - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 12:14 pm:

    So the gravy train finally plunged over the cliff. Anyone who chose not to realize this was coming is a fool or delusional. The debate now seems to be about the triage efforts. Rauner appears unafraid to take the heat for his cuts. And yes, he took Rahm’s advice to not let a good crises go to waste. This kind of bargaining is as old as civilization. Everyone better have their big boy pants on.


  35. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 12:23 pm:

    nick, what gravy train aree you referring to. The old lady with Alzheimer’s gravy train? The autistic kid gravy train?

    Certainly not the tax breaks for profitable corporations gravy train, which is barreling down the tracks quite nicely.

    You’re aware that Rauner just raided dedicated funds for $1.3 billion in new revenues, correct? And that the cuts being discussed here are meaningless from a fiscal point of view?


  36. - Carhartt Representative - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 12:33 pm:

    = The old lady with Alzheimer’s gravy train? The autistic kid gravy train?=

    Darn special interests creatin’ a bad business environment


  37. - Nick Danger - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 12:59 pm:

    Regardless of what it is called, years of spending beyond the capacity to pay (no matter what its for) is unsustainable and foolish. Thinking it can continue is delusional, yes…no? As for who gets hurt, somebody in a responsible position should have considered what was going to happen years ago, but they refused to… clearly.
    Now we come to the negotiations and it’s hardball.


  38. - paddyrollingstone - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 1:07 pm:

    Nick - “Rauner appears unafraid to take the heat for his cuts.”

    How can you tell? He won’t answer any questions about it. Ducking the press is hardly a profile in courage.


  39. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 1:12 pm:

    ND, you’re canned talking points are just that.

    What does the current budget situation have to do with years past? Seriously, beyond your shallow sloganeering?

    It’s a budget dude. Spin means nothing. Put numbers to it.


  40. - Nick Danger - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 1:13 pm:

    Pads, only from his numerous public statements where he said he is unafraid to take the heat for his decisions. (I assume cuts are decisions).


  41. - Nick Danger - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 1:24 pm:

    Word, I was not sloganeering anymore than you just were. But then I’m stating the obvious.


  42. - Nick Danger - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 1:37 pm:

    “What does the current budget situation have to do with years past?” Do you not understand how that sounds? Seriously? How can past over-spending NOT impact the next budget? or said this way: “But, man, there’s a $6 billion Fiscal Year 2016 budget hole staring this state in the face. So, if you think the screaming is loud now, just wait a few weeks”


  43. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 1:44 pm:

    Really, Nick?

    How much of that $6 billion hole is paying down old bills?

    Zero.

    The $6 billion is the difference between projected FY16 revenues and FY16 spending at current levels.

    Did you miss that tax cut thing?


  44. - Norseman - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 1:58 pm:

    === - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 10:56 am:

    Mama, ain’t gonna be no federal bailout. ===

    New lyrics to the tune: “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys”


  45. - Juice - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 2:04 pm:

    Just to add on to Word’s comment about not paying the backlog of bills down, the Governor’s proposed budget makes our debt worse. By taking a pension holiday now, he is going to cost taxpayers billions more during the life of the funding schedule, but taking group health savings without a realistic plan to get there, he is going to turn that mess into an over $2 billion problem, then add in the Medicaid cuts that need a change in law, or the child care savings that aren’t savings because the families will still be eligible for care, and now we’re looking at a budget that is really about sloganeering, and a bit far from reality.


  46. - walker - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 2:37 pm:

    Nick Danger: to make it simpler– if Rauner’s budget proposal would pay down old bills and reduce debt, you would have a better argument. You’re right that it’s time to buckle up and act like adults. Part of that is seeing that what Rauner has proposed so far will take us backwards in 2016 simply on the numbers.


  47. - Anon. - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 3:08 pm:

    “How much of that $6 billion hole is paying down old bills?

    Zero.”

    The so-called pension “ramp” is an old bill. Of course, Rauner doesn’t want to pay that, either.


  48. - Sue - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 3:28 pm:

    went to my Doctor(one of the few individual practitioners still around) for annual physical during which he lamented that a significant number of his patients had decamped during the past 12 months to either Texas or Florida. These folks were not retired but working age regular joe’s leaving Illinois for better employment opportunities. This might seem overly anecdotal but someone needs to focus on improving the economic climate and that is what Rauner is trying to do. I don’t agree with everything he says but at least he is telling it the way it is- Illinois is in a death spiral and needs to change or it will be left with more people dependent on the State and fewer contributors to the tax base.


  49. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 3:39 pm:

    ==Illinois is in a death spiral==

    LOL. Haven’t heard that talking point for a while.

    ==or it will be left with more people dependent on the State and fewer contributors to the tax base==

    Ahh. The old takers argument.

    Two for two on the talking points there Sue.


  50. - Joe M - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 3:55 pm:

    ==Raising taxes didn’t solve the problem and weren’t on track to solving the problem. ==

    As already mentioned, the higher taxes had cut the backlog of unpaid bills in half, from about 9 billion to around 4.5 billion.

    With the higher taxes, the State actually also made its full $4-5 billion actuarial pension payment each of those four years. And with the higher taxes, all of these cuts to social programs and state universities and infrastructure didn’t have to happen.

    The 5% income tax rate wasn’t all that high when compared with Iowa’s 8.98% top rate; Wisconsin’s 7.65% top rate; Kentucky’s 6% top rate; Missouri’s 6% top rate; or Minnesota’s top rate of 9.85%


  51. - nixit71 - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 4:59 pm:

    ==The 5% income tax rate wasn’t all that high when compared with Iowa’s 8.98% top rate; Wisconsin’s 7.65% top rate; Kentucky’s 6% top rate; Missouri’s 6% top rate; or Minnesota’s top rate of 9.85%==

    MN: taxes ALL retirement income
    IN: taxes retirement income, SS exempt
    IA: taxes retirement income, SS exempt
    WI: taxes retirement income, SS exempt
    KY: taxes retirement income ($41K exemption), SS exempt

    And you need to figure in overall tax burden by state to get a true assessment on where IL stands. I believe, even after the 5% rate expired, that IL is still one of the top 10 highest tax burden states.


  52. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 5:05 pm:

    Nix, prior to the income tax rollback, the Tax Foundation had Illinois average state and local tax burden at 10.2 percent, 13th highest in the country.

    Your point that many neighboring states tax at least some retirement income is well taken.


  53. - AnonymousOne - Wednesday, Apr 29, 15 @ 8:13 pm:

    Autism cuts

    Medicaid cuts

    Education cuts

    DCFS cuts

    Nursing home cuts

    Death panels for Illinois?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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