* CBS 2 interviewed University of Illinois at Springfield political science professor emeritus Kent Redfield about the impasse…
Redfield said a lot of knowledgeable people in Springfield believe Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic lawmakers won’t settle on a state budget before the next election in 2018.
“It’s very, very difficult to be both in campaign mode; and then be trying to put together the kind of negotiation, compromise, sharing of the pain, and extending the kind of trust that makes these bargains,” he said.
The state’s current backlog of $14 billion in unpaid bills could balloon to $28 billion by the time the next governor and Illinois General Assembly are sworn in in January 2019.
“A new governor in 2019, whoever that is, could be in the middle of a fiscal year that has no budget, but would be looking at $28 billion of unpaid bills,” he said.
The Democratic candidates need to start talking more about this other than just yelling at Gov. Rauner. Surely, they don’t want to inherit such a fiscal disaster. The tax hikes and cuts needed to extricate ourselves would be beyond punitive. And it’ll be even tougher to accomplish if Illinois bonds are downgraded to junk status by then.
* Meanwhile, the Northwest Municipal Conference sent a bulletin to its members today about Sen. Bill Brady’s new budget proposals…
Two of these bills are of particular concern to local governments. Senate Bill 2181 (Sen. Bill Brady) includes a 10% reduction in the LGDF beginning on July 1, 2017. Senate Bill 2178 (Sen. Bill Brady), creates the Budget Management and Control Act and grants the Governor extraordinary emergency powers to transfer funds and dictate cuts. The legislation does not make any specific cuts to state collected local government revenues; however, provides that the Governor could transfer up to $1 billion from “any funds held by the Treasurer” to the General Revenue Fund. Consequently, the bill could subject critical local revenues such as the LGDF, Sales Tax, Use Tax, the Personal Property Replacement Tax (PPRT) and others to reallocation.
The NWMC strongly believes that state should not look to solve its budget problems with local revenues. Such an action would merely shift the burden to local governments. If these revenues are lost, local leaders will be left with difficult choices: defer infrastructure investments; further reduce services upon which our residents and businesses rely; or, raise revenues (although multiple legislative proposals seek to eliminate this option, leaving severe cuts and service reductions as only ways to respond). These are completely unacceptable choices to impose on fiscally responsible communities.
Look, if people are gonna get haircuts, then everybody should take one.
The problem here, of course, is that Gov. Rauner wants to take state money away from local governments while simultaneously imposing a permanent, or at least 5-year property tax freeze. That’ll be difficult, to say the least, without radical reductions to employee rights, pay and benefits.