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A simple answer to a simple question

Monday, Jan 30, 2017

* From the twitterverse…


* The simple answer is in the second sentence of this excerpt from the state Constitution

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.

As long as the General Assembly is allowed to estimate available funds, then legislators can play with the numbers all they want and there’s really nothing anybody can do about it except change the Constitution.

The GA did give some power to the Auditor General to check to see if the numbers were valid and then to recommend actions, but that authority expired with most of the income tax hike.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

22 Comments
  1. - muon - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 9:29 am:

    In the years immediately after the tax hike the GA passed resolutions with revenue estimates. That broke down in 2014 for the FY2015 budget which ended up with a hole that needed to be patched in Rauner’s first three months.


  2. - Commonsense in Illinois - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 9:35 am:

    Rich, you lost me. Are you suggesting that no appropriation was needed because the legislature did not estimate revenues for the fiscal year? If so, I’m not sure that eliminates the requirement that expenditures are only allowed if appropriated by the General Assembly, which did NOT happen in SFY 16, nor (so far) the second half of SFY 17.

    One of us needs more coffee.


  3. - Anonymous Lee - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 9:36 am:

    === In the years immediately after the tax hike the GA passed resolutions with revenue estimates. ===

    Wehrli wasn’t around, but the Republicans who were in the House at the time did vote for them.


  4. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 9:40 am:

    So the GA can always balance the proposed budget by inflating expected revenues. Amazing!

    Silly Constitution, expecting honorable people to act in good faith.


  5. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 9:40 am:

    Grant ain’t the sharpest pencil in the box.


  6. - Texas Red - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 9:41 am:

    Father knows Best


  7. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 9:43 am:

    Wehrli…

    Anytime he isn’t tweeting about Mautino, that’s a win for sanity.

    If you wanted to list “thoughtful legislators”, Grant Wehrli wouldn’t be on a list like that.

    A list of Twitter trolls… Yes.

    Thoughtful? …


  8. - Roman - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 9:44 am:

    And Grant, give your twitter account a rest long enough to make sure this settles in: “The General Assembly by law shall make appropriations for all expenditures of public funds by the State.”

    No “estimated” hedge in that sentence.

    That’s what makes our current situation ripe for court action. Knock the AG for waiting too long, but otherwise she’s on firm legal ground.


  9. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 9:46 am:

    === Are you suggesting that no appropriation was needed because the legislature did not estimate revenues for the fiscal year?===

    Um, no. Where did you get that?


  10. - Name Withheld - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 9:51 am:

    ===Father knows Best===

    I assume you’re taking the time-honored hackneyed position of implying that AG Madigan is a pawn of her father, Speaker Michael Madigan.

    There are plenty of legitimate and viable reasons to take issue with any of the legal arguments the AG has had over her tenure. If the best you’ve got is that she’s her father’s daughter then you’re as lazy as you are ignorant. Either find a legitimate point to criticize and do so, or get out of the way of those who will.


  11. - Ahoy! - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 9:56 am:

    I do believe there was 1 year where they didn’t even hid the fact it was unbalanced with a bad estimate, does anybody else remember that or am I out to lunch?


  12. - wordslinger - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 10:22 am:

    Geez, the whining on this question is unbelievable.

    The courts will ultimately rule if state employees can be paid without an appropriation. That’s a basic Constitutional question.

    Do whiners like the governor and Wehrli want the power to spend without appropriation forever? On what grounds and to what end?


  13. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 10:27 am:

    =- Name Withheld

    perish the thought that right smack dab in the middle of a grand bargain that left out MJM - here comes his daughter’s legal filing threatening the entire political ground that the bargain was built on . But no how dare I suggest that MJM is behind this.


  14. - It's All About Me - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 10:31 am:

    The reason A.G. Madigan didn’t pursue it was she was too busy fighting corruption.


  15. - Michael Westen - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 10:43 am:

    “But no how dare I suggest that MJM is behind this.”

    ……Or the Governor could simply fulfill his Constitutional duties and propose a balanced budget. But how dare I suggest the Governor do his job.


  16. - Arock - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 10:47 am:

    After the first couple years of estimated revenues being bogus she would probably have had enough evidence to show corruption in the state government in regards to the budget. But that would have affected dear old Dad.


  17. - Demoralized - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 10:53 am:

    ==After the first couple years of estimated revenues being bogus==

    The budget is based on ESTIMATES. Read the excerpt from the Constitution above. The GA is free to estimate whatever they like. To suggest that the AG should have taken some sort of action is ludicrous and indicates and complete lack of understanding of pretty much everything.

    ==But that would have affected dear old Dad.==

    Oh please.


  18. - Commonsense in Illinois - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 11:29 am:

    Rich…I had that second cup of coffee and realized I had set the quoted constitutional text in the wrong context. My mistake and apologies to you.


  19. - Name Withheld - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 11:30 am:

    === how dare I suggest that MJM is behind this.===

    When your suggestion is that the AG’s actions are done at the behest of her Father, yeah.

    If you want to criticize the length of time she waited - have at it. If you want to counter her legal arguments - more power to you. But if all you’re leading with is that she’s the daughter of the Speaker of the Illinois House, and that all actions she takes flow from that relationship - then your argument is worthless.


  20. - Name Withheld - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 11:33 am:

    Correction: Your argument is non-existent.


  21. - Wounded Knee - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 1:21 pm:

    There is always a danger of learning the wrong lessons from history.

    Billionaire Bruce might not have worked in 2914, or maybe it just was not enough to overcome Tax Hike Pat.

    Billionaire Trump might not have worked in Kentucky, but Trump lost in a landslide in Illinois.

    Rauner should not be attacked for his wealth: people equate wealth largely with success. But they should criticize Greed.

    Money is not the root of all evil. The Love of money is the root of all evil, the Bible tells Christians.

    I expect Rauner will be hammered for lining his own pockets by opposing the millionaire tax.


  22. - Stark - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 1:44 pm:

    No balanced budget amendment in the state Constitution, Rep. Wehrli, so I’m not sure what AG Madigan is supposed to do.


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