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Budget optimism abounds

Thursday, May 24, 2018

* Greg Hinz

Sources in both parties and both chambers, and a source close to Rauner, all tell me the same thing: Real progress has been made by negotiators from the four caucuses, known as “budgeteers.” That progress has been affirmed by relatively tranquil if incomplete negotiations between the four legislative leaders and Rauner. […]

“We are doing absolutely everything we can to give the governor a reasonable budget that he can sign,” says one Democratic budgeteer. “I’d makes the odds 60-40 this gets done by the end of the month,” says one top Republican.

One factor that ironically may be working in favor of a deal is the latest flap over whether House Speaker Mike Madigan is serious about curbing sexual harassment by his associates and whether he retaliated against a House critic. With even many House Democrats not wanting a repeat of the budget standoffs of earlier years, the desire not to be in Springfield and under a harassment microscope “only increases the pressure on him” to finish up the budget quick.

But sources in both parties say they’re still not completely convinced that Rauner, running for re-election after last year’s budget and tax hike were enacted over his veto, really wants to move on.

One source close to him says he does, but laid down some conditions: The budget has to be balanced, more or less; it can’t include a lot of new spending; and there must be no new taxes in the plan.

* Peoria Journal Star editorial

A year ago on this date, the Journal Star joined with other Illinois newspapers to publish front-page editorials under the headline “Unacceptable” as our state government approached a third consecutive year without a budget. To give you a taste: “There is nothing wrong with Illinois but its politics … Govern, for a change. Resolve never to return Illinois to this hellish place again.”

Fast-forward 365 days and the contrast could not be more stark, the silence out of Springfield more profound.

“Please take that as a good sign for the moment,” said state Rep. Ryan Spain, sharing a sentiment largely echoed by his Peoria-area colleagues on both sides of the aisle. “Cautiously optimistic,” said Rep. Mike Unes, R-East Peoria, with some identical nods. […]

We’re told that bipartisan, bicameral, orderly and productive meetings have been taking place on a daily basis, outside the media glare. If that’s what it takes to get a budget that is balanced and on time, so be it.


Illinois’ key budget deadline is barely a week away and one of the state’s budget negotiators says he believes lawmakers can break a three-year trend and get a budget done on time.

“I’m very encouraged by where we are at right now,” State Rep. Dan Brady declared. “We’ve got communication going between all the rank-and-file, that’s the budgeteers.


For the first time in years, budget talks are looking up at the Capitol.

The deadline is in just eight days, but those negotiating final details aren’t breaking a sweat. Many say they’re optimistic it will be done in time.

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R) says communication is much better across the aisle this year. There was some fighting about a revenue estimate a few weeks ago, but he says they made it past that.

Durkin says this time around lawmakers are learning to trust each other. He anticipates a balanced budget, but says they’re still working to get there. He says they’re trying to work about five or six major issues first.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Jman - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 11:23 am:

    I appreciate the optimistic tone but I’m just not buying what they’re selling yet. I’m sure the Repubs are going to claim on May 31st @ 5pm that the rug was pulled out from under them about something and there is no longer good faith negotiating. We’ve all heard this song before.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 11:25 am:

    ===House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R) says communication is much better across the aisle this year. There was some fighting about a revenue estimate a few weeks ago, but he says they made it past that.

    Durkin says this time around lawmakers are learning to trust each other. He anticipates a balanced budget, but says they’re still working to get there. He says they’re trying to work about five or six major issues first.===

    Get this to 71 and 36… make the governor choose… sign or override… it’s up to him.

    Enough is enough.

  3. - Pundent - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 11:28 am:

    I haven’t been this excited since that grand bargain Radogno and Cullerton were working on in the Senate.

  4. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 11:29 am:

    It ought to be against the law for the governor to not sign a budget. I mean like cuff him and frog march him off to jail if he doesn’t sign it.

    This is how sick I am of Rauner’s antics.

  5. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 11:29 am:

    Only in Illinois is a budget “on time” during the last week of session.

    In other functioning states it is the first order of business, not the last.

    I will hold my breath and wait to see what smoke and mirrors lawmakers are using to “balance” the budget. Look the 19th consecutive unconstitutional, unbalanced budget to hit the floor the last day of session

  6. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 11:32 am:

    –There was some fighting about a revenue estimate a few weeks ago, but he says they made it past that.–

    LOL, I’d hope so; the fight was absurd. The estimates were .3 of 1% apart.

  7. - Montrose - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 11:34 am:

    Its amazing how much easier budget negotiations are when there is more revenue, though I doubt Durkin or Brady will publicly admit that.

  8. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 11:38 am:

    ===I will hold my breath and wait to see what smoke and mirrors lawmakers are using to “balance” the budget. Look the 19th consecutive unconstitutional, unbalanced budget to hit the floor the last day of session===

    When Rauner signs it, with the 32% tax increase insuring that budget… will you need to be reprogrammed or will a new model be coming with the new programming baked in?


  9. - Jocko - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 11:44 am:

    ==The budget has to be balanced…can’t include new spending; and no new taxes.==

    Why stop there? How about “pay off pension obligation, stop outmigration from Illinois, and guaranteed job for life.” /s

  10. - Pieroge tirebiter - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 11:45 am:


  11. - Langhorne - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 11:47 am:

    I will believe it when i see it. Get the budget passed, step one. Rauner will veto all or parts of it, so he can claim…whatever, step two. Override veto, step three. Maybe by easter schools will get their money.

  12. - Annonin' - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 11:49 am:

    The notion the PJS has the nerve to write about state govt is truly amazin’ The whole chain has generally abandoned state govt coverage. Peoria does not even use all the copy from the SJR staff. Truly sad situation. But then they cover CAT via running press releases

  13. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 11:55 am:

    ==Only in Illinois is a budget “on time” during the last week of session.==

    The new fiscal year doesn’t start until July 1. What exactly is the issue with a budget passing at the end of May?

  14. - Ron - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 12:10 pm:

    LP, agreed. I guarantee this will not be a balanced budget.

  15. - Macbeth - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 12:36 pm:

    No way Rauner allows this to pass. No way.

    He loses all his leverage. He can’t complain. It’ll mean he has to govern — and perhaps manage his agencies.

    That’ll be interesting — Rauner managing.

  16. - That’s the problem - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 12:53 pm:

    Rauner can’t manage let alone govern

  17. - Annonin' - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 12:54 pm:

    BTW it appears the leaders did not waste much time with GovJunk —good thinkin’

  18. - Just A Dude - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 12:59 pm:

    Both houses were sure in agreement on HB 5611 officially creating DoIT agency. Goes to governor’s desk and surely he will sign off. DoIT was created from his exec order.
    Bill also contains pension code changes possibly targeted for tier 2. Slippery?

  19. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 1:01 pm:

    ==Bill also contains pension code changes==

    That was to allow those coming from agencies in the alternative formula to remain in that formula (for example Corrections).

  20. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 1:04 pm:

    Rauner’s dilemma is utterly comical to anyone who believes a governor should govern, and do their job.

    Rauner signs a budget that only can work with that 32% tax increase, Rauner embarrassingly concedes that the tax increase is 100% required for a budget to be balanced and signed by him, all but ripping to shreds that the 32% tax increase isn’t needed or that the tax increase is only for more spending… that his own signature now… approves of too.

    That’s one side.

    The other?

    Bruce Rauner will have a whole GA be seated and adjourn Sine Die… without a budget, period. No budgets, whole GA.

    Bruce Rauner will have his second GA be seated and pass one budget, and override Rauner’s own vetoes to save Illinois… and might replay that move for the GA’s second budget to save Illinois from Bruce Rauner.

    Talk about not being in charge… Rauner failed and is arguably the state of Illinois’ worst fiscal governor… ever… and often it was purposeful, to purposely hurt Illinois for leverage.

    So… Rauner would be wise to sign a budget, blow up his own ignorance on the 32% tax increase, and seem like he can indeed govern with his first signed budget.

    Or Rauner will be running for re-elect, not in charge, never signing a full fiscal year budget, and a governor who cheered for the destruction of social services and higher ed, even allowing the state to go a whole GA without a budget…


    “I’m frustrated too but taking steps to reform Illinois is more important than a short term budget stalemate”

    … lasting 4 years.

    Right? Exactly right.

  21. - RNUG - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 1:10 pm:

    == What exactly is the issue with a budget passing at the end of May? ==

    If there are changes from the previous year, especially cuts or elimination of programs, you need time before July 1 to implement

  22. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 1:13 pm:

    == What exactly is the issue with a budget passing at the end of May? ==

    I thought it was because Pate wanted to get to his cabin, and it’s just stuck.

  23. - RNUG - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 1:27 pm:

    == Bill also contains pension code changes possibly targeted for tier 2. ==

    Quick reading between the lines, it seems to be directed at people who were previously under a different pension plan than SERS (before DoIT) and ensuring proper credit is transferred or that the equivalent of a self-directed program might be retained in some cases.

    Might also allow for people who were previously / currently working on contract for DoIT to have that contractual service period count as pensionable service time if hired / moved into the official DoIT agency.

  24. - RNUG - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 1:32 pm:


    My bet is Rauner doesn’t sign any passed budget. I think he will find some reason to veto it but he could just let it hecome law without his signature.

    If Rauner doesn’t sign it, he can continue to complain about the tax increase. People who hate taxes over everything else are the only hope he has for re-election.

  25. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 1:38 pm:

    - RNUG -


    Rauner can’t sign that budget and Durkin and Brady can’t afford no budget being passed after the GA overrode Rauner last June to save Illinois from Rauner.

    Brady and Durkin are hoping to cobble 71 and 36 to force Rauner to veto and then the overrides can again save Illinois.

    It’s about 71 and 36. Rauner’s veto is the only play that saves a re-election possibility.

  26. - City Zen - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 1:45 pm:

    ==cuff him and frog march him off to jail if he doesn’t sign it.==

    Illinois has enough cuffed governors already.

  27. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 1:50 pm:

    “Only in Illinois is a budget “on time” during the last week of session.”

    Anyone remember back when Gov. Ryan and the General Assembly approved a budget in mid April only to have all the too-early revenue projections fall apart and blow massive holes in the next budget?

  28. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 1:50 pm:

    ===he could just let it become law without his signature.===

    I too have thought about it, but Rauner says he wants to “fight”… passively letting it become law would cripple Rauner as again it could seem he’s “not in charge” when both signature or veto are active options.

    I hear ya, thought and gamed that out too. It’s possible.

  29. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 2:02 pm:

    Higher Ed isn’t optimistic. I’ve had job interviews cancelled because of the uncertainty.

  30. - Ron - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 3:04 pm:

    Anonymous, nor are taxpayers aren’t optimistic either. Our wallets will continue to be picked.

  31. - I'm an Illinois fool - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 3:17 pm:

    It must be the water in this State. So ignorant of so many to be partisan in your comments regarding this issue. The fact that uninformed people cling to that notion just reminds me how I can’t wait to move and leave all of you and this State behind.

  32. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 3:24 pm:

    “- I’m an Illinois fool - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 3:17 pm:”

    If RNUG was the Governor, you would be begging to stay.

    He is one of the most intellectually honest people anywhere.

  33. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 4:56 pm:

    Hey RNUG, read HB5611 one more time. I could be very wrong, and I’m gonna go check my work again, but it looks to me like the bill slides people transferred into DoIT (and previously into CMS in 2004) into the alternative, aka Police, pension formula. That’s a first, and not in a good way.

    Oh, and it also appears to create a DoIT “security force” also eligible for the alt formula. The State is broke and we need the Computer Police. Swell.

  34. - RNUG - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 6:27 pm:


    I’ll read again tonight or tomorrow. It was tough following the whole thing on my phone.

    BTW … as I’m sure you know, at one time CMS did have a police / security force. Still remember Frank guarding Room 600 in the Stratton Building.

  35. - RNUG - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 6:29 pm:

    Or maybe the police force was back in the Finance days … the years run together these days.

  36. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 7:25 pm:

    RNUG, the “old” CMS Police predate me. I know the ones from the 1980s Chicago buildings (the old “Mental Health Police” plus the cops at JRTC) that ended up being folded into ISP.
    I reread the bill and apparently DoC/DoJJ have some “security employees” that are now part of DoIT, so a portion of the language covers them. I’m still confused about the “transferred staff” piece and the alt formula, though.

  37. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 24, 18 @ 11:43 pm:

    ==I can’t wait to move==

    We can’t wait either

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