* Daily Herald…
If Democrats want to send a budget to Gov. Bruce Rauner, they might have to do so without the votes of some suburban party members in the Illinois Senate
Some Senate Democrats are balking at the idea of approving a budget that would spend $3 billion more than the state is set to take in next year as party leaders prepare to send the spending plan to Rauner.
“I’m not going to be supporting an unbalanced budget,” said state Sen. Mike Noland, an Elgin Democrat.
State Sen. Tom Cullerton, a Villa Park Democrat, said he’d also not vote for a plan that has a deficit that big. Democratic state Sens. Julie Morrison of Deerfield and Melinda Bush of Grayslake say they’re undecided.
“That (deficit spending) is kind of how we got here,” Morrison said.
* From the governor’s office…
ICYMI: The Daily Herald
SPRINGFIELD – The Daily Herald reports suburban Democrats do not back the proposed unbalanced budget by Speaker Madigan, which currently has a hole of $4 billion. If covering this story, please attribute the following statement to Lance Trover, Director of Communications.
“There is now bipartisan opposition to Speaker Madigan’s plan to double down on a broken system and avoid critical reforms needed to turnaround Illinois. Now is the time for all members of the General Assembly to make clear whether they stand with taxpayers and for reform or will continue to be controlled by Speaker Madigan.”
OK, first of all, Noland and Cullerton are both considering congressional bids. Bush and Morrison are targets. Targets and congressional candidates rarely vote for budgets.
But this does show the rapidly rising hostility between Rauner and the Speaker. And it probably tips us to the subject matter of the coming TV ad campaign.
Whew, man, it’s gonna be a long, hot summer.
*** UPDATE *** Speaker Madigan’s spokesman just said that perhaps the governor’s press secretary should “slow down his typing.”
Why would he want to do that? Because, Brownie said, there was nothing in what those Democratic Senators said to indicate that they favored the governor’s “non-budget items.”
[ *** End Of Update *** ]
* But Madigan’s proposal is being supported by at least one group. From a press release…
News Release: TAP Supports Madigan Budget Proposal
State leaders of The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP) today called on Illinois elected officials to adopt a state budget that meets the needs of Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens. Russell J. Bonanno, state director of the TAP network, called on legislators and Governor Rauner to avoid exposing Illinois families to months of uncertainty that will accompany an ongoing political stalemate over the FY 2016 budget.
“It has become clear that Illinois’ fiscal crisis cannot be solved simply by attempting to cut our way out of it,” Bonanno said. “It is both unfair and unreasonable to balance the state budget on the backs of those dependent on state human services programs – including the families of more than 45,000 children with an autism spectrum disorder. It is incumbent upon our leaders to fulfill one of the pre-eminent duties of government: to accomplish for our most vulnerable citizens those things which they cannot accomplish for themselves.”
Total funding for TAP, amounting to $4.3 million, was eliminated from the state budget for the coming fiscal year in the budget presented to the General Assembly on February 18. If TAP funding is not restored to the budget, more than 15,000 Illinois families would have nowhere to turn for critically needed services. Most autism services are not covered by the state Medicaid program, and TAP network partners have stated that most of the program’s 19 locations in Illinois would simply close their doors if funding is not continued. A number of families served by TAP have indicated they would seriously consider relocation to another state if AP funding is not continued. An effort to discontinue TAP funding for the remainder of the current fiscal year was averted when FY 2015 revenues came in at a higher-than-expected rate in April.
“While our state faces significant fiscal challenges, we want to make our position clear,” Bonanno said. “We support any budget proposal which preserves funding for critical human services programs, including TAP. At the present time, House Bill 4165, advanced by Speaker Madigan, is the only budget proposal under consideration that restores TAP funding. As the Speaker acknowledged, his budget proposal requires additional revenue to balance the budget. We support the Speaker’s budget and urge our political leaders to work together to balance the budget by finding revenues to meet our needs.”
“The elimination of TAP from the FY 2016 state budget, as proposed in February, would be penny wise and pound foolish,” Bonanno concluded. “Many studies, including those cited by the Governor in his budget message, conclude that early and effective intervention for children with an autism spectrum disorder actually saves money over the long run by preventing the need for more costly services later in life.”