* From the Illinois Constitution with emphasis added by me…
The General Assembly by law shall make appropriations for all expenditures of public funds by the State. Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year..
* The House Republicans have been complaining for months that the House Democrats hadn’t released an official revenue estimate, which they’ve done in the past. And they want Attorney General Lisa Madigan to step in. From the Illinois Policy Institute’s news service…
Did the Illinois General Assembly pass an illegal budget? House Republicans are asking Attorney General Lisa Madigan to weigh in on whether lawmakers skipped a vital step in the process.
For nearly two years, state Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, has been pleading with House leadership to adopt a revenue estimate in its budget-making process, which he believes state law requires.
In May, Wheeler and many others asked Madigan to give her opinion as to whether lawmakers need to officially adopt an expectation of how much they’ll bring in before they can pass a budget. He did not receive a response, although Madigan was not required to provide one.
The attorney general is, however, required to respond to Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, who sent her the same request in May. There are very few exceptions to state law regarding official opinions that would allow her to ignore his request. State law says that the attorney general will “give written opinions, when requested by either branch of the General Assembly, or any committee thereof, upon constitutional or legal questions.” But the official opinion guidelines say “all guidelines are subject to exception where special circumstances can be shown to warrant an exception.”
“I don’t make these requests lightly,” Durkin said Thursday. “I’m simply asking for the attorney general to officially memorialize what she said informally in 2014.”
Durkin said that, three years ago, Madigan informally said the revenue estimate was necessary.
“It’s been more than two months since my request, and her silence on an issue as important as this is extremely concerning,” Durkin said.
I’m not sure why resending a new opinion on the exact same topic from 2014 would do any good. Like Durkin says, he’s “simply asking for the attorney general to officially memorialize what she said informally in 2014.” It seems like much ado about nothing.
You can click here to see the 2014 opinion. Whether official or unofficial, her opinion isn’t binding and so can’t change anything. Also, I really doubt anyone could convince the judicial branch to start micromanaging the legislative appropriations process.