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

Post your comment... And please take a half second to come up with a nickname. It makes following the posts easier for everyone... Thanks

In other words, do your best to be civilized and smart.


* Mendoza files intent to appeal legislative pay ruling
* Kinda like kiddie soccer
* It is time to reform civil asset forfeiture
* Paper calls Mendoza "another slave to Madigan's Chicago Democrats"
* Where do the candidates stand on marijuana?
* Kennedy has hereditary disorder
* *** LIVE *** 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 Accuses Rauner Of False Statements - WIBQ..
* Madigan To Rauner: You're Making 'False Stateme.....
* Madigan To Rauner: You're Making 'False Stateme.....


* EXCHANGE: Police simulator offers reality
* Man dead after being shocked by power lines in Illinois
* Pre-historic bison bones, mastodon tooth in Illinois exhibit
* Farmers report Illinois peaches survive late-season freeze
* Northeastern Illinois: Jarrett to give commencement speech
* Suburban Chicago man gets 15-yr sentence in cocaine case
* Chicago activists call for transparency in ICE shooting
* The Latest: Activists call for transparency in ICE shooting
* AP Exclusive: Lottery manager still on job after firing
* FairPoint, Consolidated shareholders approve $1.5B merger

* Schock's lawyers say informant in case broke law
* Manar, McCann push bill to stop privatization of prison jobs
* No quick fixes for struggling Illinois coal industry
* Mendoza pays community care providers some of what they're owed
* Illinois Lottery manager still on job after firing
* Make that death, taxes and fraud in filing season
* Illinois House speaker's letter rebukes governor's claims about Thompson Center
* Sen. Andy Manar files new school funding reform bill
* Manar files new school funding reform bill
* Medical marijuana use rejected for intractable pain, autism

* Here's a measure of the opioid problem in Chicago and Illinois
* Peoples Gas infrastructure budget soars despite regulator scrutiny
* AbilityLab CEO talks Obamacare, Roger Ebert and what's next in rehab care
* Everyone is suddenly an outsider in Illinois' election races
* Lottery manager still on job after firing


* Etihad to lend US-bound passengers iPads as ban workaround
* Police respond to Capitol Hill incident; shots fired
* Dylan to meet Nobel academy to receive literature prize
* Ford recalls 440K vehicles for fire risk, door latch trouble
* Bernadette Peters revisits the songbook she made famous
* It’s over: Britain files for divorce from the European Union
* Police: Suspect battered two elderly women in Aurora
* Police: Suspect pointed cellphone in fitting room in Palatine
* Dense fog advisory in effect through Wednesday morning
* Man shot in Englewood


* Bill O'Reilly apologizes for comparing Maxine Waters' hair to a 'James Brown wig'
* Daughter of author who wrote 'Marry My Husband' column to finish late-mother's project
* Senate Democrats offer to work with Trump on health care — if he ends attack on Obamacare
* Bill O'Reilly's 'James Brown wig' comment is the latest example of tuning out women
* LINDA C. BLACK HOROSCOPES for 3/29/17
* Kris Bryant signs deal as mobile game endorser
* Apple's Chicago River flagship taking shape
* Cavalia's white big top a lesson for George Lucas
* Indonesian man swallowed by python, villagers and reports say
* Why is Ryan Pace saying such silly things about Bears quarterbacks?


» Madigan To Rauner: Stop 'False Statements'
» Madigan To Rauner: You're Making 'False Statements'
» Ex-Congressman's Lawyers: Informant In Schock Case Broke Law
» Chicago’s Inspector General Makes Affordable Housing Recommendations
» Calder Statue To Be Removed From Willis Tower
» Blues Museum Planned For Chicago, Again
» Activists Call For Transparency In ICE Shooting
» Rural Residents Push Factory Farm Legislation
» Lawyer: ICE Agent Shot Unarmed Chicago Man As He Opened Door
» Rauner Pushing Privatized Toll Lanes On I-55


* Schock's lawyers say informant in case broke law
* Manar, McCann push bill to stop privatization of prison jobs
* No quick fixes for struggling Illinois coal industry
* E.J. Dionne: The GOP's lost health care conscience
* Michael Gerson: How Trump can get his groove back
* Catherine Rampell: Trump's latest impossible promise
* Mendoza pays community care providers some of what they're owed
* Illinois Lottery manager still on job after firing
* Make that death, taxes and fraud in filing season
* Illinois House speaker's letter rebukes governor's claims about Thompson Center


* One giant leap: B-N native seeks sponsor to send project to moon
* Three Macoupin communities among those receiving federal CDBG funding
* MidAmerican encourages customers behind on bills to call utility
* Podcast: Broadcaster Steve Kelly 03/29/17
* Four area counties rank in top 20 for health
* Fischer’s still up for sale after owners reject $800,000 mystery bid
* DACC ends tuition waivers for dual-credit high-schoolers
* Urbana school facilities panel adjusts its priorities
* Tom Kacich: A taste of their own medicine
* The Great Outdoors: Turkey hunting and bees' favorite flowers


* AT&T adds five suburbs to high-speed fiber internet network
* Fire badly damages South Elgin KinderCare
* Playoff fire awaits Jones, Werenski, more young defensemen
* Fans can look forward to some major changes in NFL games
* The Latest: Sweden wants 'result-oriented' Brexit talks

* Rep. Hultgren accepting summer intern appl...
* Protesters converge on US Rep. Randy Hultg...
* US Rep. Randy Hultgren reflects on busines...
* Illinois GOP lawmakers say the fight to fi...
* US Rep. Randy Hultgren accepting internshi...
* Veterans seek answers at forum with US Rep...
* Our View: Time for Randy Hultgren to hold ...
* New shots at Ryancare from Hultgren, Raune...
* Quick News - The Herald-News
* GOP congressman appears to distance himsel...

* More Than 25 Democrats Pledge to Oppose Su......
* Durbin to vote against Trump's Supreme Cou......

* Local Head Start Programs To Get A Boost -......
* Local Head Start Programs To Get A Boost -......

* Why are CBD products sold over the counter some places and tightly regulated in others?
* Terrence Malick loves us—he just has a peculiar way of showing it
* Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers #8 with Diane Ravitch and Kevin Coval.
* Cook County State’s Attorney Foxx: “Put our bodies in front” if ICE agents try to seize immigrants.
* Better Locker Rooms: It's Not Just A Transgender Thing
* REALTORS® give IE support to reelect Burns in Geneva
* REALTORS® give IE support to reelect McLaughlin in Barrington Hills
* Going out in the underworld on the gig poster of the week
* The multidisciplinary Tesseract explores queer identity through the lens of science fiction
* City Council expected to renew ‘sanctuary city’ status, and other Chicago news


* April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Everyone Has a Role to Play - Illinois DCFS to hold events in Chicago, Peoria, Edwardsville and Carterville
* Governor Highlights and Reaffirms Commitment to Strengthening Illinois' Ethical Standards
* Rauner, Durkin Call on General Assembly to Pass I-55 Resolution
* Rauner Urges Swift Action on State-City Pension Deal as House GOP Readies Its Votes
* Governor Announces Appointment

  
* Facebook tries a second News Feed headed by a rocket ship icon
* Apple SIM Partner GigSky Now Offers Data Plans in Over 40 More Countries
* Watch the Galaxy S8 Unpacked event LIVE at 11am Eastern (Video)
* [Video] LG G6 unboxing: First look
* Watch Samsung unveil the Galaxy S8 at Unpacked 2017
* Facebook Camera gets beefed up with more Snapchat-like features
* OG Fossil, Casio and Tag Heuer smartwatches are the first to get Android Wear 2.0… for real

* Robertson unfazed by rumors, feeling great
* Sox bring offense early, late vs. Royals
* May day: Rookie wins center-field job
* May the best kind of spring surprise
* Inbox: Can Sox gain from keeping Quintana?
* White Sox get good news on Rodon, Petricka
* White Sox send Bourjos to Rays


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

Archives
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