* After a brief flirtation with moderate rhetoric, our old buddy Richard Goldberg reverts to form. All emphasis in original…
From: Richard Goldberg, Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs To: Members of the General Assembly
Date: November 23, 2015
Subj: Contingency Planning for HDEM Refusal to Compromise
On November 6, 2015, in response to a request from the Speaker’s Office, the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) sent the Speaker’s Office a list of Fiscal Year 2016 “Other State Funds” appropriation items that the Governor would support as an amendment to HB 4305 in order to protect public safety and avoid the first state debt default since 1842.
On November 8, 2015, GOMB followed up with specific appropriations language to support that objective. Had the General Assembly enacted HB 4305 with our compromise proposal, a wide range of “Other State Funds” and federal pass-through funds would already be available, including funds to:
* feed our veterans;
* feed state prisoners;
* feed individuals with mental health issues;
* feed individuals with developmental disabilities;
* keep state troopers on the road;
* salt state roads and plow the snow;
* support community college programs;
* avoid defaulting on the state’s civic center bond debt;
* distribute Motor Fuel Tax, video gaming and 9-1-1 money to local governments; and
* pay lottery winners.
Notably all of these line-items come from “Other State Funds” or federal pass-through accounts – and most must be paid regardless of the final budget outcome.
Unfortunately, House Democrats decided not to consider our compromise proposal when the House convened on November 10, 2015. Moreover, rather than moving HB 4305 as an amendment to a Senate vehicle bill (to expedite enactment of funding for local governments and the lottery), House Democrats passed a brand new House bill that would constitutionally require three days of readings in the Senate – and then immediately placed a procedural hold to stop the bill from even going to the Senate. In short, not only did House Democrats reject a compromise to fund key public safety concerns, they decided to hold hostage all other funds for local governments as well.
Now with the first snow storm of the season behind us and a debt payment looming, we cannot assume House Democrats will return to Springfield in December to consider a compromise “Other State Funds” and federal pass-through funds bill that helps local governments, protects public safety and avoids a debt default without adding General Revenue Funds that would lock in a $5 billion budget deficit. Indeed, if past is prologue, we might expect more shenanigans that put politics over the needs of our citizens. Therefore, our administration will move forward with contingency financing options to protect the citizens of Illinois.
As always, our administration stands ready to compromise with any member of the General Assembly to enact structural reforms that turnaround Illinois alongside a balanced budget. We urge House Democrats to embrace the compromise we have offered on HB 4305 – a compromise that will defend the safety and security of our citizens without impacting the larger budget debate.