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This is true, but only if you assume the governor does nothing

Thursday, Jul 13, 2017

* The Illinois Policy Institute has a new post entitled “Understanding why the new budget fails Illinoisans.” Here’s point 5

It sets up Illinois for another unbalanced budget in 3 years

Illinois’ budget will still end up underwater in just a few years, even with $5 billion in tax hikes.

Even if all the 2018 budget’s assumed savings are successfully implemented, the state will be back to deficit spending again by 2021 based on conservative projections of the state’s revenues and expenditures.*

Pension costs could rise due to new actuarial assumptions or a downturn in the stock market. Department spending on core government services could eat into planned budget balances. Tax revenues could fall as more people leave to avoid paying the 32 percent income tax hike.

Deficits will occur because the budget doesn’t fix the state’s true problem: out-of-control government spending.

So, what’s that asterisk about? This

*The Illinois Policy Institute assumes both revenues and expenditures will grow 2 percent annually. If the presumed savings ($1.1 billion of pension savings and $814 million of “unspent appropriations”), revenues or additional expenditures (up to $700 million in additional annual debt service to pay down the backlog of bills) are off in any way, the state could be deficit-spending as soon as fiscal year 2019.

Good point. But if our governor actually proposed and then worked to pass a legitimate and reasonable budget for once, he could get in front of problems by controlling some state spending. He also doesn’t have to spend all the money appropriated in the new budget. He can choose to not sign leases and contracts, and he can work to lower those and other costs.

That’s what governors are supposed to do, not just sit back and let everything run on auto-pilot and then demand that the General Assembly craft a budget plan for him - and then veto the end product when that finally happens.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 1:48 pm:

    So even the IPI thinks of Rauner as the most helpless victim ever elected in the US?

  2. - anon2 - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 1:48 pm:

    === It sets up Illinois for another unbalanced budget in 3 years ===

    So the supporters of the current budget are blamed for not solving budget problems three years from now? By that standard, there has not been a good budget in several decades.

  3. - Norseman - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 1:51 pm:

    === That’s what governors are supposed to do, not just sit back and let everything run on auto-pilot and then demand that the General Assembly craft a budget plan for him - and then veto the end product when that finally happens. ===

    Gee, such a radical concept.

  4. - G'Kar - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 1:51 pm:

    Can you not say the same thing about the other 49 states? If they don’t watch their budgets inflation over time will lead to deficit spending.

    Of course, in Illinois, that means the Governor would actually have to work to prepare a budget that does not rely on magic beans to balance. And for the last two years, our governor has shown no interest in preparing a true budget that matches expenditures with revenue.

  5. - Texas Red - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 1:53 pm:

    “But if our governor actually proposed and then worked to pass a legitimate and reasonable budget”

    What do you think the last two years have been about ? Rauner promsed to shake things up with his TA. He is never going to use a page out of any existing political playbook, he has his priorities and they clash with the established political class. The Dems should give him real WC, or property tax relief or Prevailing Wage concessions and then let’s see what happens

  6. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 1:53 pm:

    All those photo-ops are hard work!

  7. - illini97 - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 1:55 pm:

    If only there was some tie between the IPI and the Governor’s office so that they could ensure the Governor manage spending, preferably through some budgetary document, to ensure this doesn’t happen.

  8. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 1:57 pm:

    ===That’s what governors are supposed to do, not just sit back and let everything run on auto-pilot and then demand that the General Assembly craft a budget plan for him - and then veto the end product when that finally happens.===

    Rich is right. Don’t believe Rich?

    Ok… how about…


    ===“The governor is the top guy. He is the leader. House Speaker Mike Madigan is not. The governor has to make things happen. If he doesn’t get everything he wants, he’s got to figure out how much he can get. To get something done. He’s got to take the wheel. He’s got to have a plan. It’s like everything in life.”

    “It seems to me what you’ve got today are two guys very set in their ways and have programs that they just won’t give up on. Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to destroy the unions, and it’s Madigan’s lifeblood. Madigan has to save the unions; otherwise, he doesn’t survive. And it’s just as simple as that.===

    Ok… how about Edgar, in the past…

    ===”He (Rauner) comes from a different background than I do. But I just think it’s very important for a governor, you’ve got to have a good budget and you need it in place,” Edgar told reporters. “You can try to compromise on some issues — and I think there are certain things (Democrats in the Legislature) might give him — but some of the things he’s asking for, they’re not going to give him. They’re just not going to give him.”===

    I’ve said, if Rauner is admittedly inept at budgets, cuts, and revenue, I’m cool with that, then IPI is right.

    IPI… Just admit Rauner is inept…

    Rich is spot on.

  9. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 1:57 pm:

    Everytime IPI whines about the budget, they portray Rauner as a little child lost in the scary deep dark government woods.

    In what way does setting Rauner up as a virgin lost in a brothel cover up the fact that he spent millions telling us that he could do what Miss Kitty at the Long Branch Saloon couldn’t?

    You can’t be the Madam while telling everyone you’re Mary Pickford.

  10. - worddlinger - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 1:59 pm:

    If I could be radically candid, don’t tell me your problems, tell me your solutions that you can accomplish through the democratic processes as set forth by the Constitution and statute.

    You’re in an action position now, not a coffee klatch. The taxpayers are compensating you very well. Get to work.

  11. - Daniel Plainview - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 1:59 pm:

    I’m sure the business operations skills that Rasmussen honed during her years working at “think tanks” will come in handy finding ways to pinch pennies.

  12. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 2:02 pm:

    But Rauner and IPI want that crisis to occur to achieve radical austerity. This is a part of their plan, not a problem. It’s their strategy.

  13. - Ajjacksson - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 2:02 pm:

    Wordslinger has been “spot on” in several of his posts over the last couple of days.

  14. - DuPage Bard - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 2:05 pm:

    Maybe the Governor believes that the GA is just staff and by his new COS rule, the GA needs to bring Completed Staff Work?
    Don’t ask the Chief to help or ridiculous questions or small details just bring him the final product in the manner and form he wants. That is called Completed Staff Work.

  15. - Lamont - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 2:06 pm:

    At least JB is giving solutions—progressive tax, legalization of marijuana, the fight for 15, etc. They may not all pass, but he’s pointing the way toward financial solvency (I’m a Kennedy supporter). Rauner wants everyone to do the dirty work for him so he can have plausible deniability (like the 4.95% income tax)

  16. - My New Handle - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 2:06 pm:

    More words that all boil down to “Do your job.” Nothing newsy here.

  17. - Honeybear - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 2:07 pm:

    Straight up OG Rich

    Que Twista

  18. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 2:09 pm:

    ===The Dems should give him…===


    “give him”

    That’s fun

    Rauner can find 60 and 30, just like every governor has had to do since the Cutback Amenndment.

    “give him”, that’s just knee-slappin’, Carhartt wearin’, G droppin’ hilarity.

  19. - My button is broke... - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 2:11 pm:

    Yea, but if Gov. Rauner got the budget he wanted with a temporary tax increase, future budgets would have been in perfect balance, even after the tax increase expired. /s

  20. - MOON - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 2:14 pm:


    What would the “underwater” amount be 3 years from now if there wasn’t a $5 billion tax increase ?

  21. - former southerner - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 2:15 pm:

    The governor doing nothing would be a marked improvement. Unfortunately what he actually does is far worse than doing nothing.

  22. - Simple Simon - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 2:15 pm:

    Texas Red…sounds like you are saying that if Rauner can’t get any TA items, he is understandably going to refuse to use any of the levers of his vast powers to keep spending down. Thanks for nothing, gov!

  23. - Simple Simon - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 2:21 pm:

    TR: Here’s a scoop. The TA is as dead as can be. When my dream dies, I find a new one. He should do the same, like ending pinstripe patronage or keeping spending down. Too bad he’s taking his ball and going home. #newgovernor.

  24. - Now What? - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 2:35 pm:

    I really miss when wealthy guys would just buy sports teams as a hobby to blow off some steam. Governin’ just ain’t as empowering as trading players.

  25. - Can - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 2:36 pm:

    ==out-of-control government spending==

    When kids learn how to teach themselves, prisoners start self-incarcerating, roads fix themselves, poor people stop getting sick, and the developmentally disabled stop being developmentally disabled, we can indulge the IPI on their dream society. Until then, we have to do normal government stuff.

  26. - Sue - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 2:37 pm:

    What would a reasonable/legitimate budget look like in terms of spending, cuts and tax rates Rich?

  27. - Joe Biden Was Here - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 2:38 pm:

    Rauner ran as an outsider and he’s stayed that way. He can’t grasp that 60 and 30 logic, simple as it is.

    Michael Jordan thought that since he was so very good at basketball he could just change his shoes and be good at baseball.

    Rather like the way Rauner assumed that his skills in the private equity game would translate to government.

    In both cases reality intervened to burst their bubbles. Jordan won three more championships and perhaps Rauner will resume his private equity winning streak.

    But Rauner won’t ever be a successful governor. He lacks the basic skills.

  28. - Mama - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 2:38 pm:

    Rauner, the Corporate Raider, loves to campaign, not govern. He is treating IL as one of the corporations he wants to take over.

  29. - Whatever - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 2:54 pm:

    === That’s what governors are supposed to do, not just sit back and let everything run on auto-pilot and then demand that the General Assembly craft a budget plan for him - and then veto the end product when that finally happens. ===

    Pay attention, all you new and old staffers at the Governor’s office. This is what radical candor looks like. Try not to let comparisons with the documents generated by your fellow staffers impair the mutual respect Ms. Rasmussen is trying to engender.

  30. - SAP - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 3:17 pm:

    Somebody may want to explain to the IPI that an appropriation is a ceiling, not a floor.

  31. - Winnin' - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 3:38 pm:

    Looking forward to his photo tweet waitin’ for the legislature to tell him where his agencies should cut.

  32. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 4:00 pm:

    The last of the 2011 pension bond matures in FY19 so that’ll free up about a billion/yr.

  33. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 4:01 pm:

    ==He can choose to not sign leases and contracts==

    Yes, but how will Bill Cellini and friends eat?

  34. - KAY-ro - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 5:52 pm:

    It’s depressing that so many people with so much experience in state gov would propagate the misconception that the governor has much discretion or authority to do anything. The General Assembly has usurped much of the executive branch’s authority. The governor has little authority (relative to most states) to hire or fire who he wants and little authority to change state agencies and enter into contracts.

  35. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 5:58 pm:

    ===The governor has little authority (relative to most states) to hire or fire who he wants and little authority to change state agencies and enter into contracts.===

    That’s not true.

    Arguably, Illinois’ governor is one of the strongest Executives.

    “…hire or fire who he wants…”

    The agency heads, the governor chooses his leadership

    “…and little authority to change state agencies…”

    Governors here have even reorganized whole agencies and merged some…

    “…and enter into contracts…”

    Tell the social service providers that sued, you guessed it, the governor and his appointed agency heads.

  36. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 6:04 pm:

    - KAY-ro -

    Illinois is ranked 4th most powerful…

    So there’s that.

  37. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 6:21 pm:

    KAY-ro, that’s an odd post.

    Check out Article V, Section 11 of the state Constitution.

    And who do you think is entering into contracts, if not the executive?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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