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“Working together on grand bargain”

Thursday, Feb 16, 2017

* From the governor’s budget office

* SJ-R

Rauner also outlined areas where he wants to increase state spending, including K-12 education, college grants for needy students and more investigators for the Department of Children and Family Services.

However, Rauner did not mention in his speech that his budget proposal would spend about $37.3 billion while state revenues are estimated at $32.7 billion. Rauner’s budget plan also counts on $4.6 billion under a category called “working together on ‘grand bargain,’ a bargain that is still being negotiated in the Senate. Rauner’s budget director Scott Harry nonetheless insisted Rauner had presented a balanced budget to the General Assembly.

* Sun-Times

Rauner’s budget proposal — deemed “balanced” by his budget director — is reliant upon on the Senate plan passing. Within the budget proposal is a mixture of spending cuts, revenue and projected economic growth to try to reach a magic number of nearly $4.6 billion. The governor is seeking to fill the remaining $2.7 billion plus by getting legislative authority to make cuts.

“His preferred option is to continue to work with the General Assembly,” state budget director Scott Harry said during a briefing with reporters.

The reliance on the plan — as well as lack of specifics in his budget address — had some Democrats launching attacks. Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza said Rauner has “shirked his constitutional duty.” And State Sen. Terry Link, D-Vernon Hills, said Rauner “shied away from the opportunity to lead.”

* Tribune

Despite repeatedly insisting to reporters that the proposed budget was “balanced,” Rauner’s budget chief, Scott Harry, did not offer much in the way of specifics as to how the governor would close the hole. Not contained in the 570-page budget book is any mention of ways to raise more money to avoid cuts.

Rather than detail additional cuts to close the gap, Rauner’s budget instead includes a $4.57 billion line-item titled “working together on ‘grand bargain.’” Harry said the governor’s “preferred path” out of the hole would be “a mixture” of more spending cuts, tax hikes to generate new revenue and policies to create more economic growth, which would lead to higher tax revenues.

That deep hole already assumes Rauner would be able to make $2.7 billion in other cuts he proposed in the state’s main checking account. One provision would shift state workers into a less expensive pension program by offering a 401k-style retirement plan as an alternative to the constitutionally protected, defined-benefit plan workers currently enjoy. Rauner’s team says the move would save $500 million. When asked how the administration had estimated the savings when participation in the new plan would be voluntary, Harry punted to another Rauner aide, who said only that “assumptions were made on what the choices would be.”

Also factored into Rauner’s proposed savings is $240 million he estimates would be generated from selling the state’s James R. Thompson Center building in the Loop, $340 million in savings from changes to the state’s procurement processes, $120 million in cuts to a program that allows people with disabilities to avoid institutionalization by receiving home-based care and a $500 million reduction in compensation for state workers.

I didn’t go to that budget presentation, but it sounds like it was similar to some recent White House press briefings.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

42 Comments
  1. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 9:29 am:

    Why not just put “magic beans” as a line item? I cannot believe this is actually in the budget.


  2. - slow down - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 9:30 am:

    “Rauner’s budget instead includes a $4.57 billion line-item titled “working together on ‘grand bargain.’”

    This is a budget proposal? Truly incredible lack of leadership.


  3. - Bobby Catalpa - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 9:34 am:

    500 million in reduction for state workers?

    Wait … what?


  4. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 9:34 am:

    ==When asked how the administration had estimated the savings when participation in the new plan would be voluntary, Harry punted to another Rauner aide, who said only that “assumptions were made on what the choices would be.”==

    Now we have an idea of how many state workers the admin thinks cannot do math. (It would appear many of them are in the current administrations budget office.)

    A new plan that saves that much money is a bad deal compared to the other options available. Why would anyone sign up for Tier 3 as an option? How are they going to sell it?


  5. - Joe M - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 9:37 am:

    The universities will have to change their accounting curriculum to include such entries as “working together on ‘grand bargain’” — “magic beans” — “smoke and mirrors” and also “outright deceit” in budget lines.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 9:37 am:

    Where are the budget hawks that berated “decades” of unbalanced budgets to really “go after” the measurably unbalanced proposed budget by Bruce Rauner, her 3rd unbalanced proposal in as many fiscal years.

    To Leader Radogno, to President Cullerton,

    Do not give up on each other or on the Process.

    Please.

    Unlike the passive governor that wrings his hands in support of you while trying to tie your hands to work against you, I want you all to succeed because Illinois needs to move forward…

    … whatever it takes.

    OW


  7. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 9:38 am:

    == 500 million in reduction for state workers? ==

    Wonder how many days AFSCME has to be on strike for the Governor to save that $500M?


  8. - Consideration - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 9:39 am:

    = 500 million in reduction for state workers?

    Wait … what? =

    Privatization?


  9. - @MisterJayEm - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 9:40 am:

    I had been worried about funding our retirement, but I just added the line “working together on ‘grand bargain’” to our family budget, and enjoying our sunset years in the Riviera is now guaranteed!

    – MrJM


  10. - anonymouse - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 9:41 am:

    So we dig a hole to China. Then when reaching it, we start piling dirt around the hole so we can keep on going? How high does this mountain need to get before he realizes that it eventually needs to get filled with something other than magic beans? The bill was due years ago. Rather than accruing yet more interest and late payment fees, let’s just pay the dang thing already!


  11. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 9:42 am:

    Budget office budget is $1.5 million.
    think I know where we could find $1.5 million in savings.


  12. - Jocko - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 9:43 am:

    In his past life as a former CEO, I wonder how he would react if a subordinate presented this to him.

    At least have the courage to write “d/k (don’t know)” next to the line item.


  13. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 9:43 am:

    Love the “estimated FY16 liabilities” line …

    At this point, over 7 months into FY17, shouldn’t we actually KNOW the FY16 shortfall?


  14. - PublicServant - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 9:46 am:

    ===Rauner’s budget director Scott Harry nonetheless insisted Rauner had presented a balanced budget===

    Because he wants to keep his job even if he borrows from the Kellyanne Conway school of alternate facts.


  15. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 9:46 am:

    Who says Rauner and Madigan are fighting?

    They’ve both now proposed budgets out of balance by $7 billion.


  16. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 9:47 am:

    Pardon, 9:46 was me.


  17. - Norseman - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 9:49 am:

    === … $500 million reduction in compensation for state workers. ===

    Surprise!


  18. - OldIllini - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 9:51 am:

    The “Net Individual Income Taxes” line, $14.4B, is based on 3.75%. The Grand Bargain needs to raise that to $19B, or any other combination to increase $4.6B. It’s not that complicated.


  19. - fed up - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 9:55 am:

    = $120 million in cuts to a program that allows people with disabilities to avoid institutionalization by receiving home-based care =

    Is this the type of state we want to live in? By the way, how much might this COST the state if these individuals come into state care because their families can’t take care of them without this support?


  20. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 10:11 am:

    As a taxpayer, I’m tired of paying the salaries of the State employees who put together this lame smoke and mirrors mishmash. It looks like something slapped together over a weekend.

    Next year, Rauner might as well submit a single piece of paper with, “Don’t worry, I’ve got it covered” on it. Makes as much sense.


  21. - Shemp - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 10:18 am:

    I really want to believe his message of reform and from my personal experiences, know it is desperately needed for our collective future. I don’t even mind tying some reforms to the budget because some of them are direct budget savings. However, this nonsense of not putting up and not shutting up is making me think all the pain is for naught. May as well just pass another phony baloney balanced budget like we have for the last few decades and whistle dixie.


  22. - PJ - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 10:20 am:

    Democrats should submit a budget with a 4 billion dollar revenue line item entitled “Governor Rauner donates his personal fortune to the state”.

    It might actually be more realistic than whatever this is.


  23. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 10:29 am:

    ===I didn’t go to that budget presentation, but it sounds like it was similar to some recent White House press briefings.===

    Lol!

    “The power of the governor to present this balanced budget is very substantial and will not be questioned. We will have unquestioned fiscal strength beyond anything anybody can imagine.”


  24. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 10:41 am:

    ==The “Net Individual Income Taxes” line, $14.4B, is based on 3.75%.==
    And it looks like he cut more than he needed to. A 4.99% rate would move that $14.4B up to $19.3B. That’s $4.9B in extra revenue vs. the $4.6B he needs from the grand bargain. Looking on the bright side, this gives some room for restoring some of the zeroing out of social services.


  25. - UIC Guy - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 10:44 am:

    When I first saw this, in a comment on a piece here yesterday, I thought it was a joke. Then I went to the document put out by the state and there it was. As they say: you can’t make this stuff up. Attempt satire and reality will outrun you.


  26. - Harvest76 - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 10:48 am:

    We’re being trolled, right? There is no other possible explanation to this “line item”.


  27. - Mama - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 11:05 am:

    =$500 million reduction in compensation for state workers.=

    RNUNG, I was just wondering…

    1.How much does it cost the state to pay the state workers under Rauner for 1 month with or without administration cost?

    2. How can the state realize any savings since Rauner plans to hire contractors to replace AFSCME strikers?

    3. If the courts shuts down the entire state, how long would it take to save that kind of money?


  28. - Mama - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 11:14 am:

    Tier I State workers are not stupid. They will never sign up for Tier 3 as an retirement option. No savings there folks.

    Tier II has been in affect for several years, and cost the state nothing. Please tell me why we need another 401K retirement fund when the state already has one?


  29. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 11:20 am:

    –We’re being trolled, right? There is no other possible explanation to this “line item”.–

    Yes. See Lucky Pierre.


  30. - titan - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 11:39 am:

    - @MisterJayEm - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 9:40 am:

    I think that one “wins” the comment thread on this item.


  31. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 11:49 am:

    Looks to me like $400M of the $500M in reduction in compensation for state workers comes from item #7 Group Health Insurance. So Rauner isn’t saying wage cuts as some here seem to be assuming, but he is admitting that this would be a reduction in compensation.


  32. - JS Mill - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 11:53 am:

    Tell me again how a property tax freeze and term limits help the state budget?

    Right, it doesn’t, just politics.


  33. - Chicagonk - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 12:30 pm:

    Is the expectation among commentators here that Rauner specifically outline exactly how that revenue hole is filled? He hasn’t exactly danced around the subject of revenue (aka tax increases) lately and assuming he is not trying to undermine the senate negotiations (which is a big assumption I know), I’m ok with him deferring the specifics on how to raise taxes to the senate for now.


  34. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 12:39 pm:

    -Mama-

    I have no idea, and don’t feel like digging out all the budget numbers to.do the math.


  35. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 12:44 pm:

    –Is the expectation among commentators here that Rauner specifically outline exactly how that revenue hole is filled?–

    For crying out loud it’s been two years, and he’s the governor.

    If not now, when?


  36. - Maximus - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 1:02 pm:

    Now that I learned this budget proposal Rauner gave is relying on the current 3.75% tax rate I can sort of understand why there is a hole since he doesn’t know if the grand bargain will pass which then raises the rate. Whomever ends up being the next governor better be good with numbers and math and budgets. One of the very first tests the new governor will have is for the public to see if he can produce a budget that is realistic and not full of holes. I think Rauner would have done himself a favor to make his budget proposal reliant on the grand bargain passing and then he can use the higher 5% tax rate to at least make his budget balanced.


  37. - Annonin' - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 1:27 pm:

    Did Capt Fax use the WH press briefin’s because of the Administration lies or is there another reason


  38. - Rabid - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 2:12 pm:

    Grandiose govenor garble


  39. - Who knows - Thursday, Feb 16, 17 @ 4:11 pm:

    Though the administration said they do not want to do mass privatizations but….”$500 million reduction in compensation for state workers.”


  40. - Rabid - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 4:29 am:

    Grandstanding


  41. - Rabid - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 4:36 am:

    The general assembly has been coming to terms with no budget


  42. - Rabid - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 8:03 am:

    I can’t tell if he’s staying on message or just a one trick pony


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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