The Illinois House and Senate on Thursday approved a stopgap budget that would keep state government afloat for six months, ensure schools open this fall and provide help to struggling Chicago Public Schools after Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats who control the General Assembly struck a deal amid intense political pressure with the November election looming.
The overwhelming votes followed two days of closed-door negotiations, the first meaningful round of give-and-take on the budget as the state was about to enter a second straight year without a full spending plan come Friday.
Without a temporary budget in place, schools faced the possibility of not opening this fall, thousands of construction workers could spend the summer off the job, and the state’s unraveling network of social service programs faced further decimation.
“I suspect the reality is everybody wanted to get someplace and get us on the road to solving these problems. So I think the governor was very anxious to have a program in place to fund public education, so was everybody else,” said Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, a Chicago Democrat and top lieutenant of House Speaker Michael Madigan. “So I think there was pressure everywhere you looked to do something, and I think this is that something.”
But amidst the back-patting and words of compromise, House Speaker Mike Madigan couldn’t resist taking a shot at the Republican governor.
After the stopgap budget passed his chamber 105-4, Madigan said that problem with passing budgets has been Rauner’s insistence on including “his personal agenda that hurts families.”
“Many previous efforts to implement a more comprehensive budget failed due to the governor’s insistence on the inclusion of his agenda that would drive down middle class wages and standards of living,” Madigan said.
“The difference today is that the governor has dropped his demand that his agenda be considered before a budget could be approved.”
Republican House Leader Jim Durkin said it would’ve been “atrocious” and likely spur a public revolt if lawmakers finished another fiscal year without a budget. He noted that even with the compromise, the ongoing budget standoff between Rauner and Democrats who control the Legislature will be an election-year issue.
“Mark my word that it will be articulated in the fall by various entities,” he said.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Rep. Kelly Cassidy had a pretty good constituent update, so I’m going to use it here…
This week we returned to Springfield and today passed a package of bills representing a compromise with the Governor and Republicans on a stop-gap budget for fiscal year ‘16 and the first six months of fiscal year ‘17. Most significantly there are no turn-around agenda items included in these bills and State operations will continue. Here is a summary of what is included:
Increases General State Aid by $361 million
Equity Grant to assist high poverty schools
$75 million increase to early childhood education
Full year of funding for fiscal year ‘17
$1 billion in funding for universities, community colleges, MAP Grants, adult education, career & technical education, Illinois Math & Science academy operations
Covers FY ‘16 & first half of FY ‘17
Developed by members of the budget working group
Includes $667 million in funds from the Commitment to Human Services Fund for programs not currently operating under court order
Covers 65% of full funding for the 18 month period
Includes programs that were suspended, such as immigration services, autism programs, Teen Reach & other youth programs.
Funded from the Budget Stabilization Fund ($275 million), General Revenue Funds ( $448 million) and Commitment to Human Services Fund ($31 million) for operational expenses. These amounts will pay for expenses such as utilities, FOID, medical care, gas, etc.
The bills include appropriations for IDOT projects, EPA projects and other development projects that have had to shut down mid-construction
Other State Funds
Includes items such as federal funds for the Area Agencies on Aging, LUST fund reimbursements, emergency response appropriations and other similar programs
These items are funded using existing funds only. We remain far short of what is needed for full operations and we will need to address our revenue short-fall before the end of the first six months of this fiscal year. Agencies that have gone without payments or contracts while providing services should expect to begin receiving payments under this plan.
Other items addressed today:
SB2822 Chicago Pension Parity - This bill will establish a one year (FY ‘17) requirement that the State make a contribution of $205 million to the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund, creating parity with downstate and suburban teacher pension funds.
SB 318 Chicago Property Tax Increase for Teachers Pension Fund - This bill would re-establish an annual property tax levy for the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund. This levy would be capped at a rate of 0.383%, which is estimated to generate $250 million. The proceeds of the tax would be paid directly to the pension fund. The additional tax rate would not be subject to the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (the tax cap).
While today’s actions represent real progress, my wish would have been for us to have passed a full budget with sufficient revenues to operate for a full year. I will continue to advocate for a truly responsible solution to restore stability and fiscal health to the State.
*** UPDATE 2 *** The Illinois State Board of Education has run the numbers for the GSA funding formula increase. Click here to see the list by district.
*** UPDATE 3 *** Oy…
The ratings are here.