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Question of the day

Monday, Apr 11, 2016

* Sun-Times

North Side activists rallied Sunday around legislation they hope will end Illinois’ nearly yearlong budget stalemate and secured commitments from lawmakers at a full-house community convention in Lake View.

ONE Northside is pursuing legislation in Springfield its members say would close $2.5 billion annually in corporate tax loopholes. The bill was filed in January by Rep. Will Davis, D-East Hazel Crest. […]

A small group of Democratic state lawmakers agreed to co-sponsor the legislation. Senate President John Cullerton vowed to move it through the Senate.

One person’s loophole is another person’s must-have business incentive. Eliminating them is harder than just about anything.

* This could turn out to be more important, however

Cullerton also committed to seeking a statewide vote on a fair tax, and to working to pass a fully funded two-year budget that closed the corporate loopholes by May 31.

Yep. The fair (graduated) tax is being revived. It’s reportedly been tweaked a bit, but we’ll get more details soon and then we’ll talk about it when we do.

Also, a two-year budget? Hmm.

* The Question: Would you support the crafting of two-year state budgets? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

survey services

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - 47th Ward - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 12:41 pm:

    Yes, in theory I’d support two-year budgeting. Texas and other states seem to be able to pull it off without much trouble. But as with most things, the devil is in the details. It’s a discussion worth having though.

  2. - Huh? - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 12:43 pm:

    Other states have 2 year budgets. Something like this would allow for the poison pill legislation that 1.4% wants without the hostage taking.

  3. - jim - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 12:45 pm:

    someone is going to have to refresh my recollection.
    what is a fair tax — is he talking about a graduated income tax?

  4. - blue dog dem - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 12:46 pm:

    Voted ‘no’. I would much rather we try to change the length of term for a rep to four years. I am not even going to dream about term limits….

  5. - Ghost - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 12:49 pm:

    yes. I thunk they should also have 5 yr approps for large scale capital projects. the system know of having to reapprop to cover contracts that cant be cmpleted in a year is akward.

    I also think they should dump closed bidding and go to open bidding and do reverse auctions on large projects. no teason not tonshare bids and let somone else try and come in lower…. the closed bid process just gurantees overpaying.

  6. - Mama - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 12:51 pm:

    Since FY16 budget has not been passed, they don’t have a choice. The state needs a two year budget to cover their buns from last year and provide a budget for next year.

  7. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 12:51 pm:

    Sure, it’s a more thoughtful and disciplined approach.

    But we’re not really flush with thoughtful and disciplined right now. It’s bizarre to be talking about it ten months into a no-budget fiscal year.

    You have to learn to crawl before you can walk.

  8. - Jack Stephens - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 12:52 pm:

    When Bruce was running for Illinois CEO he said that “gay marriage” should be decided by a referendum.

    There was a referendum on the ballot calling for draconion cuts in Welfare for the Wealthy.

    Cant figure out why he doesnt support this referendum?

  9. - First in the field - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 12:52 pm:

    I have been part of state programs where a two year budget or commitment was made by a department. It was a one year contract, but there was a two year agreement to fund the program. Such agreements help with long term planning.

  10. - The Captain - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 12:59 pm:

    “Would you support the crafting of two-year state budgets?”

    (checks current state budget) [file not found]

    Yes. Yes, I could support this.

  11. - Sir Reel - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 1:00 pm:


    Between appropriations, re-appropriations, release of funds, and contract approvals and execution, the current system doesn’t work for capital projects. Many of these steps also limit operating programs. The system is broken.

  12. - Ahoy! - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 1:01 pm:

    I voted yes because I would support it and in many ways think it would be helpful to universities, schools, non-profits, etc to have that kind of certainty. Of course at this point I think we need to craft a FY 16 budget and dig ourselves out of the hole we are in.

  13. - AlfondoGonz - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 1:03 pm:

    I would have voted yes if I thought it could be competently executed.

    My fears that it could not led me to vote “No.”

  14. - RNUG - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 1:03 pm:

    Yes. I remember when they only met every 2 years and did 2 year budgets.

  15. - Fairness and Fairness Only - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 1:07 pm:

    Yes, 1-year budgeting leads to extremely short term thinking. I’d support 2-year budgeting.

    Right now, I’d support almost any budgeting.

  16. - JS Mill - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 1:10 pm:

    Voted Yes. It would be even better if the ILGA only met every two years. I know I am dreaming though.

    =I remember when they only met every 2 years and did 2 year budgets.=

    I didn’t know that, ah the good old days!

  17. - Norseman - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 1:19 pm:

    No. While Illinois will be forced to pass a multi-year budget because of the Rauner impasse, I don’t see a two-year budget as a long-term fix for the State’s budgeting issues. A yearly budget provides the opportunity for more performance oversight and quicker adjustments for economic or other changes.

  18. - mad dog - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 1:27 pm:

    Somebody is going to have to compromise, maybe this will get them going.

  19. - RNUG - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 1:30 pm:

    == A yearly budget provides the opportunity for more performance oversight and quicker adjustments for economic or other changes. ==

    –Norseman-, could always use off year or special sessions to adjust.

  20. - GA Watcher - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 1:32 pm:

    Illinois used to have two-year budgeting before Citizen Quinn’s cutback amendment.

    As to your question, Rich. I didn’t know if you meant should we have them on a permanent basis moving forward or just for FY 2016-2017 given Senate President Cullerton’s comments you reported on. If it’s the former, I would vote “yes”. Anything that can move us more toward a longer-term view of budgeting is a good thing. If it’s just for FY 2016 -2017, I would vote “No” unless assurances are given that the all of the agencies, organizations, colleges, service providers, etc. that are currently being held hostage by the impasse will be paid what they are owed for FY 2016 and what they need for FY 2017.

  21. - A Modest Proposal - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 1:34 pm:

    I voted no, simply because budget was pluralized in the sentence. I would like to see how a two-year budget works out, but I don’t want it to become the norm if it winds up failing.

  22. - A Modest Proposal - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 1:36 pm:

    “Cant figure out why he doesnt support this referendum?”

    If you referendemized (i made that word up) every public policy you would have tons of services that you provide and no tax income..

  23. - Rod - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 1:39 pm:

    I support the idea of a two year budget, having some stability would be an amazing thing in this state. But built into those budgets would have to be a pay back plan for all the service providers and vendors owned millions of dollars. I also support President Cullerton in reviving the graduated income tax issue, even though its chances are long.

    I do not support President Cullerton and Senator Manar in their school funding reform proposal, SB 231. To be honest the effort made by then Senator Meeks in his 2007 SB 750 which attempted to move our state away from a property tax based education funding system using increase taxation replacing those taxes was far better. I also support Speaker Madigan in relationship to the problems of a state funded pension fund, I would like to see HB 3695 that would reestablish a direct property tax line for the Public School Teachers’ Pension and Retirement Fund of Chicago. If overall school based property taxes were reduced via a bill like the one Meeks proposed, direct funding of teachers pensions via property taxes could be possible. It is impossible with the property tax burdens now in place.

  24. - illinoised - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 1:48 pm:

    Yes, because it is better than no budget.

  25. - Earnest - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 1:52 pm:

    I voted ‘yes.’ Ultimately it doesn’t matter until we start using real numbers to do our budgets.

  26. - Learning the Ropes - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 2:02 pm:

    I voted “yes” and think it is worth considering to put some of our professional license renewals and other special funds on the same 2 year cycle. Currently a fund may be on a 3 year collection cycle, so when you check the cash on hand - there is more than they need for that particular year, and so they sweep it and will deal with the shortfall later.

  27. - littlehorse - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 2:06 pm:

    Yes, if they would only meet every two years. That would save money.

  28. - Casual observer - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 2:08 pm:

    Voted yes but I believe 2 year budgets should be voted on in non-election years. So, even if we can’t do it for FY16/17, we could do it next year.

  29. - Norseman - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 2:10 pm:

    From an April 2011 NCSL Article, State Experiences With Annual And Biennial Budgeting.


    There is little evidence that either annual or biennial state budgets hold clear advantages over the other. The evidence is inconclusive on the question whether biennial budgeting is more conducive to long-term planning than annual budgeting, although some evidence indicates that biennial budgeting is more favorable to program review and evaluation. Biennial budgeting is likely to reduce budgeting costs somewhat for executive agencies, but it also is likely to reduce legislators’ familiarity with budgets. States with biennial budgets and biennial legislative sessions do not appear to give greater authority over budget revision to governors than other states. Forecasting is likely to prove more accurate in annual budget states than in biennial budget states, possibly reducing the need for supplemental appropriations and special legislative sessions. This study has found no convincing evidence that the length of the budget cycle, in itself, determines how efficiently a state enacts a budget and whether it requires extensive change during the course of its administration.”

    One of the methodologies espoused to improve government services is performance management. Our Illinois initiative is entitled “Budgeting for Results” (BFR). GOMB’s website says the following about BFR:

    ” Private business and the foundation community have long employed data-driven, results-based budgeting to improve performance by clearly defining and aligning objectives within and across organizations. Many state and local governments also have adopted some version of performance-based budgeting. Budgeting for Results will help government agencies set priorities, meet their goals and deliver the best possible value to taxpayers.”

    To date BFR has mainly been a mere exercise by budget staffs. However, if we are to make real strides in improving government, this process has to be more aggressively pursued by our policy makers. Annual budgeting is more conducive to this process.

  30. - walker - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 2:16 pm:

    Two and five-year forecasts are already required and produced as part of the fiscal management process in the state. That’s unless you decide to hold the budget hostage to other political demands. I’m in the “prove you can walk before you run” camp on this one.

    If Schnort, Vaught, or Nuding can make a case based purely on process benefits, not partisan politics, I’ll happily jump in the pool.

  31. - Dee Lay - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 2:32 pm:

    “One person’s loophole is another person’s must-have business incentive.”

    So So So Spot on Rich.

  32. - A guy - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 2:50 pm:

    Yes. It would definitely require more discipline. It would also change the approach of every outside interest in the state. It would force more actual legislating. “Planners” would enjoy an advantage.

  33. - OneHandType - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 3:56 pm:

    I voted no. I think planning long term is a good idea. Don’t know if it has to be tied to the budget though. I think the budget should be thought about and acted on frequently.

  34. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 4:03 pm:

    Absolutely! I worked with budgeting my last 15 years with the state. I can’t begin to explain how many man hours a two year budget would save! Not to mention giving departments, vendors, etc etc the peace of mind of knowing what they have to work with on a longer term basis.

  35. - Wensicia - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 4:12 pm:

    I don’t think changing the time frame will achieve positive results with the current administration. No.

  36. - Bruce (no not him) - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 4:25 pm:

    I am all for a 2 year budget. But to be honest, I’d take a one year, 2 month, 1 month….. heck any budget sounds good at this point.

  37. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 4:43 pm:

    Is that even permissible under the current Constitution???

    (a) The Governor shall prepare and submit to the General
    Assembly, at a time prescribed by law, a State budget for the
    ensuing fiscal year. The budget shall set forth the estimated
    balance of funds available for appropriation at the beginning
    of the fiscal year, the estimated receipts, and a plan for
    expenditures and obligations during the fiscal year of every
    department, authority, public corporation and quasi-public
    corporation of the State, every State college and university,
    and every other public agency created by the State, but not
    of units of local government or school districts. The budget
    shall also set forth the indebtedness and contingent
    liabilities of the State and such other information as may be
    required by law. Proposed expenditures shall not exceed funds
    estimated to be available for the fiscal year as shown in the
    (b) The General Assembly by law shall make
    appropriations for all expenditures of public funds by the
    State. Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed
    funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available
    during that year.
    (Source: Illinois Constitution.)

  38. - illlinifan - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 4:45 pm:

    Yes, two year budget and the legislators meet only every 2 years, maybe we can cut their salaries in half? They will accomplish just as much as their meeting more often (snark meant).

  39. - Charlie Wheeler - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 5:23 pm:

    Illinois employed two-year budgets throughout most of its history, the last enacted in spring, 1967, for the 75th biennium (1967-69.) In spring, 1969, new Republican Gov. Richard Ogilvie proposed a one-year budget for FY 1970, including receipts from a new income tax. He also established the Bureau of the Budget and effectively made the governor through BOB the central factor in a budgetary process that since the 1930s had been dominated by the Illinois Budgetary Commission, basically a legislative panel which had the governor as an ex officio member.

    His main rationale for annual budgeting was that revenue projections and program spending requirements were too difficult to predict more than two years into the future; as a result, it had become routing for the governor to summon the General Assembly into special session in the second year of the biennium to make required adjustments in appropriations, and occasionally revenues, chiefly through increases in sales tax rates (three times in the 1960s.)

    Delegates to the Sixth Illinois Constitutional Convention in 1970 codified annual, executive budgets in the Finance Article of the new charter voters ratified in December, 1969.

    Charlie Wheeler

  40. - Commonsense in Illinois - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 5:35 pm:

    I voted “no” as I’m unsure whether the Constitution contemplates multi-year budgeting. For those bringing up the time with Illinois did indeed budget for a two-year cycle, that was under the Constitution of 1870. The 1970 Constitution dropped that provision when it instituted a presumption of a ongoing legislature with annual sessions.

    The Finance Clause talks about the Governor proposing a budget for the ensuing fiscal year, but is generally silent on passage of bills appropriating funds, and hence the confusion.

    I suppose the best way to approach this if for the legislature to pass two budgets, one for each fiscal year. Otherwise I wonder if someone would challenge a single bill that funded state government over a two-year period, one year of which had already gone by?

    Oh, Brother Schnorf…?

  41. - Norseman - Monday, Apr 11, 16 @ 5:48 pm:

    Thank you Charlie for bringing in some historical perspectives.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
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