Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » Huge power grab or major legal stretch?
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Huge power grab or major legal stretch?

Tuesday, Mar 14, 2017

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

If Attorney General Lisa Madigan succeeds in convincing the Illinois Supreme Court to consider ordering the state to stop paying employees without an appropriation, and if Governor Bruce Rauner’s legal team uses the same arguments it did in St. Clair County, it will be important to understand the repercussions of his strategy.

First a little background. The Illinois Constitution and state laws are clear that no state money can be expended without a legal appropriation, which is legislative speak for a special kind of bill that lists how much government agencies, commissions, etc. can spend on various items.

As you probably know, the state hasn’t had a “real” budget in a couple of years. A budget is basically just a collection of appropriations. The last legal appropriation for state-employee payroll expired on June 30, 2015. Negotiations between the governor and legislative leaders stalled, and shortly thereafter a judge in St. Clair County ordered the state to pay its workers anyway. Everybody figured this would probably be a temporary situation, so nobody squawked too much. It’s been done before for a few weeks.

But the governmental stalemate has continued for more than 20 months. In January, Madigan got tired of waiting for the governor and the General Assembly to cut a deal and filed a legal motion in St. Clair County to vacate that 2015 order. She lost. We’re not sure exactly why because the judge didn’t issue a formal opinion, but the governor’s office was at that hearing and filed a brief opposing Madigan’s motion.

The governor doesn’t want Madigan to win because his bargaining position will be greatly weakened if the courts effectively shut down the state by ruling that money can’t be spent without appropriations. Rauner is demanding some business-related reforms, a property-tax freeze, and a few other things before he’ll agree to a tax hike to balance the state’s infamously out-of-whack budget. So the man who once bragged that he would use the crisis of the state not having a budget to force through his preferred legislative changes now wants to avoid a much-worse crisis that would compel him to abandon his demands to prevent the catastrophe of an actual government shutdown.

Got all that? Okay.

One of the arguments used by the governor’s lawyers when they won at the county level last month was that a bunch of state laws are in reality “continuing appropriations.” A continuing appropriation is a law mandating that certain state bills be paid in perpetuity. The General Assembly isn’t required to pass new appropriations every year, and the governor isn’t required to sign them into law. It’s automatic-pilot spending.

But the governor’s lawyers want to redefine what a continuing appropriation is. According to the governor’s legal brief, “there are many statutes that function as continuing appropriations by mandating the State to perform specific services. Employees who provide those services must continue to be paid.”

Examples the governor’s lawyers used included a state statute mandating that the Illinois Department on Aging “exercise, administer, and enforce all rights, powers, and duties vested in the Department on Aging by the Illinois Act on the Aging.” Complying with these and other mandates, they claimed, “necessitates paying personnel” – because compliance can’t be accomplished without employees.

The governor’s legal team then argued that it would take a lot of time to sift through all state laws to find these mandates, and that the task needed to be followed up by “evidentiary hearings to assess what employees are necessary to provide such services.” Such a process could take months, if not years. There are a ton of those mandates in the state-statute books.

Needless to say, if such an argument prevailed, it would give the executive branch almost limitless authority to spend taxpayer money as it pleased. And it wouldn’t end with employee salaries, either. If the Department on Aging determined that it needed a new Chicago office building to perform its mandated functions, or had to let millions of dollars in new contracts, or had to purchase a dozen new vehicles, then under the governor’s legal logic it could go right ahead and do so without any legislative approval whatsoever.

The governor’s team references what it considers to be favorable court rulings from 1953 and 1974, but this is either one of the most blatant executive-power grab I’ve seen or the biggest legal stretch ever.

* And while we’re on this topic, Doug Finke made some good points about the lawsuit

Clearly, an adverse ruling from the court would force the governor and General Assembly to do something. You can’t expect people to come to work and not pay them. Nor can you expect the state to function without a workforce.

The solution could be approval, finally, of a permanent spending plan, or it could be just a narrowly focused thing to keep employees paid while everything else continues to languish.

Either way, it would be something.

Rauner also criticized Madigan for making the move just when things were coming together on the Senate’s “grand bargain.”

That worked better before Rauner peeled Republican support from the bargain.

Yep.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

18 Comments
  1. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 8:22 am:

    The governor’s office is wrong that all those “shall” clauses mean he can spend money without an appropriation. What they mean is, he needs an appropriation in order to pay for those mandated services. And if he can’t or won’t negotiate that appropriation, then he’s got big problems.


  2. - Anon - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 8:26 am:

    Huge power grab AND major legal stretch.


  3. - Bobby Catalpa - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 8:28 am:

    What makes this even more interesting is Mendoza’s refusal to pay $21 for Rauner’s expanded computer operations. I mean, she’s absolutely right — why stiff social services and pay high priced consultants?

    I very much appreciated Mendoza redirecting like this. Obviously, I hope employees continue to get paid — but if spigot closes — totally — I certainly hope it gets back on track with employees, schools, and social services.

    And leave all Rauner’s computer nonsense — and it is nonsense since there are no numbers to back up the savings — shut down.


  4. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 8:29 am:

    The govenor’s legal argument would seem to make a strong case for the social service providers that are suing him for reneging on their contracts.

    Same for all other vendors that are not being paid.


  5. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 8:34 am:

    The logic would dictate that Rauner is making a case that those signed Social Service contracts should be paid.

    Is the governor also advocating that his powers of who, what, and when in regards of payment begin and end with the Executive and only one Executive… Governor?

    Lots to own then too.

    Diana Rauner thinks this all is a “business decision”, so there’s that…


  6. - working stiff - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 8:36 am:

    if stopping the pay puts an end to this crisis leverage, then do it. let’s get this budget done. keep all these businesses from closing, schools open etc.


  7. - Reluctantly Living in ILL - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 8:37 am:

    Thanks, this was a helpful description of the case before the IL Sup Court.

    It would seem that the Court here might serve as an important check on executive authority. I’m curious as to why the lower court rejected Madigan’s motion to stop pay.

    Does anyone know when we might expect a ruling from the Supreme Court?


  8. - RNUG - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 8:50 am:

    I’m going to ignore the legal stretch for a minute and concentrate on something from last week that is related.

    Remember the argument of which fund some workers should be paid from? The choice was between GRF and a revolving fund. I’ve had some experience with one of the State’s revolving funds. Each year, when the budget was prepared, we asked for a certain level of spending authority for said fund. The GA would then establish a cap on how much we could spend. Technically, it wasn’t an appropriation per se because the revolving fund was effectively a continuing appropriation and all the GA was doing was controlling how much was spent out of it each year.

    IMO, that’s why the Governor and the Comptroller were fighting over which fund to use, and why Rauner is trying to build up / preserve cash in the revolving funds … arguably, he has an implied appropriation of sorts to spend money from those revolving funds. Of course, the money is only supposed to be spent on the designated purposes of each fund … but we’ve seen how fast and loose Rauner is on paying from inappropriate funding sources.


  9. - The_Equalizer - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 8:51 am:

    As has already been stated, by this logic anyone owed money by the state needs no appropriation to be paid, whether that be providers, state employee back pay, etc. Or so it would seem….


  10. - Mason born - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 8:58 am:

    If employees are so essential for these “Shall do” issues, how can we risk any work stoppage. Either by strike or lockout? If it’s so important to spend $ without a budget shouldn’t we ensure the necessary labor resources are not interrupted?


  11. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 9:03 am:

    Mason, great point.

    Rauner’s legal team is making great arguments against the actions of the Rauner administration.


  12. - don the legend - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 9:22 am:

    I trust that some of us have had more monthly bills on the kitchen table than money in the checking account to pay them. The only thing Rauner wants is to decide which bills WON”T get paid each month. He had a comptroller who agreed with his choice of victims but now he doesn’t.


  13. - Johnnie F. - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 9:34 am:

    So the argument is all state employees are essential. That should mean unionized employees should be eligible for binding arbitration in contract disputes, right?


  14. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 9:49 am:

    =Needless to say, if such an argument prevailed, it would give the executive branch almost limitless authority to spend taxpayer money as it pleased. =

    It’s called running government as a business - what could go wrong?


  15. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 10:51 am:

    So now we have a Republican governor corrupting our government’s checks and balances on spending.

    Rauner is no Republican at all if he believes this immoral garbage. All citizens of all political parties must oppose this unconstitutional power grab.

    If you care about keeping government at a sustainable level, Bruce Rauner wants you to believe that super-empowering a governor, is the way to do it.

    He is no conservative, no Republican and no one’s friend.


  16. - RNUG - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 12:32 pm:

    Vanillaman @ 10:51am,

    I thought you were going to close “… and you ain’t no friend of mine.”


  17. - Mama - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 3:49 pm:

    “The governor doesn’t want Madigan to win because his bargaining position will be greatly weakened if the courts effectively shut down the state by ruling that money can’t be spent without appropriations.”

    That one sentence sums it up nicely.


  18. - Roscoe Tom - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 7:59 pm:

    Rauner may be finally hearing foot steps. It may be the only thing he listens to other than his oh so tired do-nothing rhetoric.


TrackBack URI

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* CTBA: Property tax freeze would cost schools up to $830 million a year
* Cook Political Report moves Rauner reelect from "Lean Republican" to "Tossup"
* Candidates at the Pride Parade
* Caption contest!
* *** UPDATED x1 - Pritzker campaign responds *** Dueling press releases
* Um, no
* Special session roundup
* Rauner loves going over reporters' heads, and he did it again
* Rauner criticized for "campaign" trip to Iowa during special session
* Illinois' First Lady to speak at Chicago City Club today
* *** LIVE *** Special session coverage
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............
<


Loading


* Madigan, like Rauner, lists 'non-budget' demand.....
* Illinois could be 1st state with 'junk' credit .....
* Cook Political Report moves Rauner reelect from.....
* Madigan, like Rauner, lists 'non-budget' demand.....
* Madigan, like Rauner, lists 'non-budget' demand.....
* Special Session Continues - Alton Daily News..
* Madigan, like Rauner, lists 'non-budget' demand.....
* Madigan, like Rauner, lists 'non-budget' demand.....


* Madigan, like Rauner, lists 'non-budget' demands for deal
* UberEATS, McDonald's offering delivery in Pittsburgh-area
* Correction: Peoria History Tours story
* Body found in submerged car identified as missing woman
* EXCHANGE: Soccer meets golf in 'footgolf' at golf course
* New tax on soda, sugary drinks starts July 1 in Cook County
* New tax on soda, sugary drinks starts July 1 in Cook County
* The Latest: Remy Ma beats Minaj for BET's hip hop honor
* Activists push to save rare wetlands on school property
* Proposed golf course at Obama Library draws criticism

* Speaker Madigan lays out non-budget demands
* Madigan lays out non-budget demands
* Activists push to save rare wetland on school property
* Illinois House looks at school funding, but not budget
* Illinois could be 1st state with 'junk' credit due to budget
* House looks at school funding, but not budget
* Tourists like the Statehouse, not the gridlock inside of it
* Mendoza: By August, there won't be enough tax money to cover expenses
* Mendoza issues warning while leaders argue
* People like the building, not the gridlock

* How a 29-year-old built the fastest-growing company in Chicago
* Like our roundup? Share it around.
* As McDonald's pulls up stakes, what's next for Oak Brook campus?
* Some of the shine has come off Morningstar
* Keep your tax breaks. Give us workforce training.


* Martellus Bennett ranks Jay Cutler third of QB he’s played with
* Madigan, like Rauner, lists ‘non-budget’ demands for deal
* Man killed, 4-year-old injured in crash with squad car in NW Indiana
* Cubs scout’s son on life support after being hit by baseball
* UFC fighter appears to defecate herself while getting choked out
* Reilly pushing ‘order’ to close Ohio Street underpass
* Avis teams up with Waymo on self-driving car program
* Video: Baez shares the meaning of his tattoos in ESPN’s ‘Body Issue’
* Man beaten to death in home in Calumet Park
* Nestle stock surges amid reports US hedge fund takes stake


* Former Elk Grove library employee charged with sexually abusing teen girl
* Supreme Court reinstates part of Trump travel ban, will hear case in the fall
* LINDA C. BLACK HOROSCOPES for 6/26/17
* Award-winning children's author surprises Arlington Heights student with impromptu visit
* Confederate monument in St. Louis to be removed this week
* Philando Castile family reaches $3M settlement in death
* Mamby on the Beach a winning mix of mood, tunes and Chicago vibe
* 30 days of Chicago's best barbecue
* Highlights from Tribune's live coverage of Pride Parade
* Kelly Clarkson ribs Blake Shelton, Blackhawks ahead of Soldier Field performance


» After Long Opposing Rauner's 'Non-Budget' Demands, Madigan Has Three Of His Own
» Photos: Chicago LGBT Pride Parade Parade 2017
» Photos: Chicago LGBT Pride Parade 2017
» State Week: Special Session Begins
» When Will Illinois *Really* Run Out Of Money? Could Be August
» Prosecutors Seek To Uphold 'Making A Murderer' Confession
» Budget Impasse Makes Future Of Sojourn Shelter Unclear
» Bulls Trade Butler To Timberwolves, Go All In On Rebuild
» Illinois Experiments With High Schools Of The Future
» Senate Democrats Urge Republicans To Compromise On Budget Deal


* Mark Grant: Small Businesses — Special session an opportunity to fix Illinois' budget problems
* George Will: Baseball's pace of play needs some juice
* Speaker Madigan lays out non-budget demands
* Madigan lays out non-budget demands
* Activists push to save rare wetland on school property
* Bernard Schoenburg: Rauner talks of being happy, energized during impasse
* Illinois House looks at school funding, but not budget
* Illinois could be 1st state with 'junk' credit due to budget
* Statehouse Insider: Rauner's unity speech brought out the partisanship
* Our View: Illinois on the precipice of disaster of unknown proportions


* Best of the week: 9 things to do this week
* No one injured after shots fired in Murphysboro Sunday; suspect is in custody
* 18U Black Widows repeat as NAFA state champions
* Urbana nixes hotel renovation project
* O’Fallon man, woman killed when motorcycle hits deer, is struck by SUV
* O’Fallon woman killed, man critically injured when motorcycle hits deer, is struck by SUV
* Madigan, like Rauner, lists 'non-budget' demands for deal
* Confederate monument in Forest Park will be removed by Friday, city officials say
* 200 Millstadt residents without landline 911 service
* What's that funny-looking house?


* District 73 residency event set for August
* Free concert July 1 in Round Lake Beach
* Supreme Court reinstates Trump travel ban, will hear arguments
* Aldi reopens three remodeled stores
* IN Forecast

* Hultgren pushes for job training, educatio...
* Northern Illinois Congressman Co-Sponsors ...
* Bipartisan HOME Act Introduced to Protect ...
* Students from St. Charles, Batavia among c...
* Payments in the future will be sent like t...
* Randy Hultgren: US should remain on UN cou...
* Rep. Randy Hultgren constituents decry sec...
* Hultgren backs Trump; suburban Democrats d...
* Fundraiser, protest set for Illinois GOP r...
* Duckworth Calls Republican Healthcare Bill...

* Chicago Police Gain Access To ATF Ballisti......
* Devastating consequences could come for Il......

* Duckworth Calls Republican Healthcare Bill......

* Rahm Emanuel: Trump has transformed the Republican base, and other Chicago news
* 'Maybe The Worst FCC I've Ever Seen'
* Illinois tax hikers plan phone-in tax hike demand next Tuesday
* Cook County, A Soda Tax, and the Death of an Economy
* For federal oversight of police reform to work, pressure from the community must continue
* Illinois Policy Institute calls for lawmaker pay delay until budget passage
* Despite gains, Illinois' cities have yet to erase the job losses of the recession
* Driven: The Story Of The First African American Inducted Into The NASCAR Hall Of Fame
* SB1. Bev Johns testifies today before the House Appropriations Committee.
* Psychopath CEOs Destroy Value


* Illinois Awarded Funds to Offer Advanced Training on Detecting Impaired Driving
* Illinois EPA Announces Upcoming Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events
* IEMA Highlights Emergency Preparedness for People with Access and Functional Needs in May - Ready Illinois website offers preparedness tips for people, caregivers
* First Lady Launches Illinois Family Connects
* Governor and Lt. Governor Unveil 2016 Journal of Local Government Shared Service Best Practices

  
* Google promises to put a stop to Gmail content scans for ‘ads personalization’ later this year
* Google's 'Uptime' App for Watching YouTube Videos With Friends No Longer Requires Invite Codes
* [Video] OnePlus 5: Unboxing & Hands On
* HMD brings ‘highly anticipated’ Nokia 6 to the US at $229 GSM unlocked
* LG Innotek to Begin Mass Producing Flexible Printed Circuit Boards With Eye on 2018's 'iPhone 9'
* Specifications for new Pixel 2 devices, Taimen and Walleye, revealed
* Uptime, YouTube’s experimental app for watching videos with friends, opens to all

* White Sox tab Holmberg for opener vs. Yanks
* Podcast: #56 Forever
* White Sox Minor League Update: June 25, 2017
* Holland solid for 6 innings, but bullpen falters
* Holland solid for 6 innings, but bullpen falters
* Engel takes Gray deep for 1st career homer
* Holland solid for 6 innings, but bullpen falters


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress




Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller