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More support for overriding Rauner veto of debt transparency bill

Monday, Oct 23, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* BGA…

In mid-August, Governor Rauner vetoed House Bill 3649, the Debt Transparency Act. HB3649 was sponsored by state Rep. Fred Crespo and state Sen. Andy Manar, with the support of comptroller Susana Mendoza.

The bill would require all state agencies to report to the comptroller the dollar amount of any bills they receive and to indicate whether funding has been committed to pay off the obligations. Unlike current practice, the legislation requires reporting of due bills be done on a monthly basis. If an agency does not have any financial obligations, the comptroller can waive its reporting requirement.

The BGA supports an override of the governor’s veto of HB3649 and supported passage of the bill before the veto. An override vote is expected Wednesday in Springfield. The proposal passed out of the Illinois Senate and House with bipartisan support from Republicans and Democrats. HB3649 would boost transparency and provide taxpayers with a clearer, more accurate and current assessment of our debt and other financial obligations.

* Sun-Times

This isn’t a debate just for accountants. If the state lets a bill go unpaid for 90 days, the interest rate by law generally jumps to 12 percent a year, which hits every taxpayer in the pocketbook. That also makes it a lot harder for the state to dig out of its financial problems.

After a lengthy budgetary impasse, Illinois’ finances are a mess. We should embrace anything that helps to restore order to the state’s checkbook. Rauner vetoed the bill, but no one has advanced a persuasive argument for upholding his veto.

* PJStar

The Illinois Legislature must override the governor’s inexplicable veto of a good government measure known as the Debt Transparency Act. […]

This is basic, slam-dunk stuff. It’s impossible to balance the budget, as constitutionally required, without an accurate, real-time handle on the balance sheet, on liabilities and cash flow. The comptroller needs to know how old the bills are, whether there’s been an appropriation, whether interest penalties are accruing — in short, not fly blind — to prioritize payments, where possible. Sometimes federal matching dollars are at risk. It is nuts that the unpaid bill backlog could grow by $1 billion or more in a single day because an agency held on to its bills. Think of a spouse running up a credit card. […]

Rep. Ryan Spain of Peoria plans to reverse his earlier “no” vote to a “yes” to override, and Rep. Keith Sommer and Sens. Chuck Weaver and Bill Brady should follow without hesitation. (All other local legislators were on board.) To do otherwise is to communicate that you’re opposed to transparent, fiscally responsible government. Really?

* Herald & Review

Gov. Rauner vetoed the bill. While acknowledging it would be good to provide more transparency about the state’s financial condition, he said, “This legislation more closely resembles an attempt by the Comptroller to micromanage executive agencies,” and complained about the amount of time the reporting would require. And the information provided, he added, would be “decreasing marginal.”

That from a businessman. To suggest Rauner would accept this reporting arrangement in his own businesses is ludicrous. To present himself as fiscally responsible and reject a bill spelling out requirements for that responsibility is disingenuous, a word we find ourselves using about the governor more often than we’d like.

Not that they’re always right or anything, but I’ve yet to see a newspaper editorial against an override of this veto. Mendoza has out-fought, out-hustled and out-maneuvered the governor on this one.


  1. - Honeybear - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 11:40 am:

    “The most revolutionary thing one can do is always to proclaim loudly what is happening”. Rosa Luxemburg

    Rauners perfidy is about to be revealed big time.

    Direct evidence that Rauner
    Crashed the economy

  2. - Anon221 - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 11:40 am:

    My favorite lines from the above articles/editorials:

    PJ Star “To do otherwise is to communicate that you’re opposed to transparent, fiscally responsible government. Really?”

    Perfect campaign ad set-up gainst any GAer who goes Yellow or Red on the overrides.

  3. - Perrid - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 12:10 pm:

    The line about the guv being disingenuous cracked me up. And Medoza has put a lot of legwork into this, but it’s not that hard of a job to sell this bill. It just makes no sense that the office that pays the bill has such a limited view into outstanding debts.

  4. - Ghost - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 12:15 pm:

    It’s agreed it should be overridden, so when does it get called for a vote

  5. - Barrington - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 12:25 pm:

    It is impossible to fathom how anyone could be against this bill. It would be similar to a parent not not being able to see what was spent using credit cards by their kids.

  6. - Anonymous - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 1:14 pm:

    Rauner must have fears about this…..”Too much transparency threatens the very bedrock of subterfuge we 1%’s count on to perfidize the masses (i.e. ‘asses’)”

  7. - anononon - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 1:22 pm:

    is there any reason the State Prompt Pay Act couldn’t be amended to lower the interest rate?

  8. - Anonymous - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 1:53 pm:

    “is there any reason the State Prompt Pay Act couldn’t be amended to lower the interest rate?”

    Is there any reason Rauner signed contracts and allowed spending without appropriations? Is there any reason the state was paying down significant portions of its debt until Rauner wanted the previous tax hike sunsetted? State debt and unpaid vendors he contracted are squarely on his shoulders. No one else’s.

  9. - My New Handle - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 1:54 pm:

    Anonymous at 1:53 was me. Sorry.

  10. - rivvedup - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 4:19 pm:

    The insanity of Illinois continues, as a Governor preaching fiscal responsibility vetoed a bill designed to foster said responsibility. I am a ‘vendor’ in State parlance watching my interest grow daily, but never knowing when or if it will be paid. I hope they override the veto…and I pity Comptroller Mendoza when she finds out how broke the State REALLY is.

  11. - wordslinger - Monday, Oct 23, 17 @ 5:05 pm:

    – Rauner vetoed the bill, but no one has advanced a persuasive argument for upholding his veto.–

    Wow, they weren’t dazzled by the former comptroller’s phone call system, and her claim about the current comptroller’s attempted “overreach into the executive branch?”

    Still funny, because she really wrote that, and it never occurred to anyone at BTIA(TM)why that’s hilarious.

    This will be GOP legislators first chance at taking a whack at Rauner since HB40. I’m guessing they will take it, en masse.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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