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Senate leaders crow about bipartisan budget deal

Thursday, May 31, 2018

* From Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady last night after the Senate passed the budget with only two “No” votes, both from his caucus…

“The budget we passed contains no tax increase and is born of bipartisan compromise. As we move forward, it is vital we continue to work together to ensure this balanced budget is accomplished,” said Brady. “This budget came about because we built trust and I believe we’ve got the start of something special here.”

* From Senate President John Cullerton last night…

The Illinois Senate approved a bipartisan budget deal that invests in public education at all levels and balances through targeted savings, reforms and utilizing existing state revenues.

“This is an important step forward. This budget helps restore stability to Illinois, which is what we need. There remains more work to do, but this is a bipartisan accomplishment that we can hopefully build upon,” said Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton.

The budget was negotiated by bipartisan working groups, finalized by legislative leaders and then approved in a bipartisan vote that signifies, at least for now, an end to years of partisan budget fights that decimated universities, human service providers and ballooned the state’s debt.

The state’s operating budget totals $38.5 billion, which is a $600 million increase over the current budget. That increase is largely due to education funding increases and making required pension payments.

The proposal won Senate approval 56-2. It now goes to the Illinois House.

Highlights include …

Education:

    $350 million increase in K-12 education to honor the commitments made when lawmakers overhauled how the state funds public schools last year. The new funding formula ensures every school district will see an increase.

    $50 million increase for early childhood programs.

    The budget deal does not include shifting millions in state pension costs onto local school districts.

    State support for the retired teacher health insurance program (TRIP) is maintained.

Higher Education:

    Higher education sees a 2 percent increase after years of budget cuts. That translates into a $25 million increase for public universities and community colleges.

    In addition, the state creates a $25 million scholarship fund to be matched by public universities and community colleges. The goal of this new tuition assistance program is to keep Illinois students in Illinois attending Illinois schools.

    The budget deal does not include shifting millions in state pension costs to universities and colleges.

Human Services:

    The budget includes and funds a 50-cent wage increase for caregivers who work primarily with developmentally disabled individuals.

    Numerous human service programs including those addressing epilepsy, autism, youth employment, addiction treatment and community mental health had been cut if not zeroed out in the governor’s budget. They are funded in this budget deal.

Local Government:

    Local governments would see a nearly $120 million increase over the current budget.

    A 10 percent cut in the Local Government Distributive Fund in the current budget is reduced to a 5 percent cut. That results in a nearly $100 million increase for local governments.

    The existing budget also implemented a 2 percent administrative fee for the state processing sales tax revenue for local governments. That fee is reduced to 1.5 percent in the FY19 budget. The result is an increase of nearly $20 million going to local governments.

Financial details:

    A more than $1 billion budget hole wiped out through savings, reforms and utilizing other available revenues.

    The state is authorized to tap into up to $800 million sitting available in various state accounts. This allows the state to utilize that money now to fund programs and services and pay it back over the next two years.

    A series of voluntary pension reforms are projected to bring in $445 million in budget savings.

Those reforms include:

    Inactive buyout: Former public sector workers vested in the program and owed an annuity when they reach the qualifying retirement age would gain the option of cashing out now for 60 percent of the value. Savings estimated at $41 million

    COLA buyout: Tier 1 employees owed a compounding 3 percent COLA in retirement would get the option of having the state buyout the compounded COLA for 70 percent of the value. Savings estimated at $382 million.

    Pension spiking: End of career raises would be limited to 3 percent, currently 6 percent. This means if school districts award end of career raises in excess of 3 percent, the retirement system charges them to cover the increased expense to state taxpayers. Savings estimated at $22 million.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

57 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:17 am:

    So this means the corrupt system is broken, right? Everyone’s in on it?

    What did they do with the Real Homer Stokes Rauner, friend of the lil’ man? He’s been on the milk carton when it comes to the budget love.


  2. - Linus - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:18 am:

    Good on both chambers and both sides of the aisle for cooperation toward what looks to be a decent budget agreement. This is proof that it can happen, if there’s a will to rise above the bitterness and baloney. Nice work, people. Please keep it up!


  3. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:20 am:

    You mean they did their job? Do they all get participation trophies?


  4. - Retired Educator - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:21 am:

    Considering how the budgets went the last few years, I think they have a right to crow a little. Seems like a good budget. Congratulations to the Senate.


  5. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:22 am:

    They ought to call it the grand barg-again.


  6. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:28 am:

    I really like the pension spiking change but we see this practice throughout the state. The budget reform only mentions TRS. Will this be applied to the other retirement systems as well? I’d think there’s a potential for much more than $22M worth of savings there.


  7. - Anon - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:31 am:

    Perhaps the $800 million referenced above is what Bruce hinted he will use to pay the missed steps.


  8. - Louis G. Atsaves - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:32 am:

    So budgets can be passed by these huge vote margins if Republicans are included as real partners in the process?

    Congratulations are truly in order for all participants. Hopefully this isn’t some election year hiccup but the real deal moving forward for years to come.


  9. - Macbeth - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:35 am:

    Any more info on the Tier 1 COLA buyout?


  10. - theCardinal - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:36 am:

    In the Land of Spend and Tax this is just a slow down and relief of previuos years debacle. No one in the dome had the stomach to go through another summer the last 2 .
    Now on to election season. Knock knock “Hi Im running for blah blah, We balanced the budget ! Pardon me while I pat myself on the back, oh and don’t worry about that tax increase from last year or the Pension thing we will take care of that next year, by take care I mean you’ll forget all about the 4.95 income tax by the end of 2019. Thanks for your vote and time.


  11. - The Dude Abides - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:38 am:

    Was this just a case of Rauner giving the Republicans he controls his permission to vote for the budget or the Republicans looking at Rauner as a lame duck and no longer fearing him?


  12. - Occam - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:40 am:

    The TRS 3% cap is going to cause a significant financial problem for all those districts that have teacher contracts that have already baked-in retirement salary increases. The typical contract calls for the final 4 years with max 6% annual increases. That is going to trigger some massive TRS penalties for many, many districts.


  13. - A State Employee Guy - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:40 am:

    What Cubs said re: pension spiking in other state retirement systems. In any event, sensible pension reforms, to say the least. Never too late to start putting band aids on those paper cuts.


  14. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:40 am:

    –So budgets can be passed by these huge vote margins if Republicans are included as real partners in the process?–

    Ask Sen. Radogno.


  15. - Huh? - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:41 am:

    Hey 1.4%, we passed a budget with a veto proof majority, we dare you to veto it. If you do, we will override your veto with a century vote.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:43 am:

    ===So budgets can be passed by these huge vote margins if Republicans are included as real partners in the process?===

    Yep. Take out the Raunerites, anything is possible.

    Congratulations to all the leaders, every member, and I truly mean that, including Bivins and McCarter.

    The important lesson is that Republicans and Democrats can and will work together when unencumbered. Holding a state hostage when majorities don’t exist stifles overwhelming veto-proof majorities willing to govern for a better Illinois.

    Today I think of Leader Radogno too.

    I truly feel not thinking of her today misses the whole point as well.

    Leaders want to do the doable. Leader Radogno was undercut at every single turn, and when Republicans exercise their independence of co-equal branches… you get what happened last night.

    I’m extremely proud of Leader Brady, his team, his budgeteers, and proud of process.

    I’m equally proud of President Cullerton, et al, and proud of process the majority knew would be inclusive.

    A truly great vote. Congratulations all.


  17. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:44 am:

    Bipartisanship in the Senate has not been the problem during the Rauner administration.

    Maybe the Speaker can use this template to actually be “cooperative and professional” and” reasonable and moderate” instead of just paying lip service.


  18. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:48 am:

    ===Bipartisanship in the Senate has not been the problem during the Rauner administration.===

    … ‘cept when Rauner undercuts it.

    ===Maybe the Speaker can use this template to actually be “cooperative and professional” and” reasonable and moderate” instead of just paying lip service.===

    Bruce Rauner pleaded with Ken Dunkin to stay in NYC to keep his veto intact.

    It’s too early for your shenanigans.

    Illinois won last night.


  19. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:53 am:

    LP:

    This was the product of both chambers and both parties. The Speaker was involved. Sometimes your bot talking points don’t fit what actually happens. As word said yesterday, you need a reboot.


  20. - Phil King - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:59 am:

    There is no Conservative Party in Illinois. No voice for taxpayers in the General Assembly.

    Republicans are going to lose big in November. They deserve it. They’ve provided no alternative to the status quo of tax and spend. They’re complicit in the budgetary smoke and mirrors.

    This is full surrender.


  21. - Norseman - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:02 am:

    === So budgets can be passed by these huge vote margins if Republicans are included as real partners in the process? ===

    Still have those blinders on, Louis? This budget agreement was possible only when a few courageous GOP legislators decided last year that governing was more important than the destruction Rauner was trying to impose on the state.


  22. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:03 am:

    ==This is full surrender.==

    Yep. We need more years of no budget. Gotta get everything you want, right? No compromise. Let’s burn this place down. Because that’s what you are advocating with your nonsense.


  23. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:03 am:

    ===The budget deal does not include shifting millions in state pension costs onto local school districts.===

    And yet. ===raises in excess of 3 percent, the retirement system charges them to cover the increased expense ===

    Looks like a cost shift to me.


  24. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:04 am:

    ===Republicans are going to lose big in November. They deserve it. They’ve provided no alternative to the status quo of tax and spend. They’re complicit in the budgetary smoke and mirrors.

    This is full surrender.===

    Wait ‘til Bruce Rauner signs it.

    While you breathe thru your mouth, angry and “frustrated”, Illinois has decided that budgets matter, and budget stalemates, short term or not, hurt Illinois.

    At some point, 60, 30, signature matter to move Illinois forward.


  25. - 47th Ward - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:05 am:

    ===So budgets can be passed by these huge vote margins if Republicans are included as real partners in the process?===

    Lol Louis. If you mean Republicans have no problem spending money but are too gutless to raise the taxes to pay for it, you’re exactly right.


  26. - JS Mill - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:06 am:

    @Occam- how many of those contracts have you read lately?6% over 4 years isn’t all that common anymore. These contracts, if they were in place before the legislation is either signed or effective will not be impacted. Only those created after the legislation.


  27. - Phil King - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:11 am:

    @Demoralized

    I’ve seen nothing but compromise from Republicans. Including Rauner for 3 years.

    I’d love for the Democrats to compromise on addressing the state’s long term spending problem and fiscal imbalance.

    This spending plan is nothing but more smoke and mirrors to cover up the problem.


  28. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:13 am:

    ==Including Rauner for 3 years.==

    lol. You must be watching a different movie. I’ve not seen much compromise from anyone.


  29. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:16 am:

    Cubs, the “spiking” change also applies to SURS.

    As JSM correctly points out, members covered under existing contracts are exempt from this change for the balance of their contract term, likely reducing, not increasing, potential “savings.”


  30. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:16 am:

    ===Including Rauner for 3 years.===

    Yeah, - Phil King -… ask Leader Radogno.

    Those willing to look past the failure of Radogno and Cullerton, brought on by Rauner, and then crow that Rauner is part of this governing is 100% ignorant to recent history and misunderstand why this overwhelming veto-proof majority is so important, symbolic, and special.


  31. - Pundent - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:20 am:

    =I’ve seen nothing but compromise from Republicans. Including Rauner for 3 years.=

    I’ve got the name of a really good ophthalmologist if you’re interested.


  32. - Chris P. Bacon - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:22 am:

    So today these Republicans crow about a budget which relies on all the tax increases, and tomorrow they’ll be out campaigning on how bad the tax increases were. Got it. This is why it’s hard to take any of these people seriously.


  33. - Casper - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:25 am:

    What’s the breakdown for IDOT/Road Fund?


  34. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:26 am:

    I give some credit to the citizens of our state.

    Legislators heard plenty of complaints from voters, donors, friends, and family over the last few years.

    Calling one’s representative can matter sometimes.


  35. - Phil King - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:26 am:

    Oh trust me, I’m not claiming that Rauner or anyone else has been “governing” in Springfield. Quite the opposite.

    From what I can tell they’re all avoiding doing their jobs because the real decisions to end Illinois’ fiscal crisis are gonna be tough sells in an election year.


  36. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:30 am:

    ===So today these Republicans crow about a budget which relies on all the tax increases, and tomorrow they’ll be out campaigning on how bad the tax increases were===

    I think you’re missing the biggest problem.

    Bruce Rauner’s signature will justify the 32% tax increase. It will affirm that the tax increase is needed, warranted, and required to balance a budget Rauner will likely sign.

    It will undercut Rauner’s campaign, and torpedo the premise of overtaxing, because Rauner’s signature will validate every dime of that tax increase.

    You’re worried for the GA members? You can’t take them seriously?

    Rauner’s signature to make this law… whew.

    And get this, I’m grateful that it can and will happen, as Illinois needs to win. Rauner’s signature will let Illinois win with a budget that completed process. Rauner’s first.


  37. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:34 am:

    I imagine the process was also just a bit easier this year thanks to the higher revenue from last year’s tax increase.


  38. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:37 am:

    ===Bruce Rauner’s signature will justify the 32% tax increase. It will affirm that the tax increase is needed, warranted, and required to balance a budget Rauner will likely sign.
    ===

    Of course, Rauner could line item veto the “excess spending” to show us all how he could balance the budget without the revenue added in 2017. But I wouldn’t holy breath.


  39. - Pundent - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:51 am:

    The messaging around this now will be that there’s no “tax increase.” Brady is already casting it as such. Rauner will in turn continue to run a campaign of rolling back the “Madigan tax” all the while pointing a finger back at Pritzker and his progressive tax plan as a “tax increase.” That’s your ball game.


  40. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:53 am:

    This is a budget to get the politicians through the next election. Look what we did, no new taxes and a budget. Wait till after the election and next years budget, and watch taxes rise.


  41. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:58 am:

    ===The messaging around this now will be that there’s no “tax increase.” … Rauner will in turn continue to run a campaign of rolling back the “Madigan tax” all the while pointing a finger back at Pritzker and his progressive tax plan as a “tax increase.” That’s your ball game.===

    This will be the want, this is the spin today too.

    Here’s the rub.

    Pritzker ain’t Quinn.

    Pritzker can spend millions on Rauner validating the 32% tax increase, and follow it up with Rauber used every penny of that 32% tax increase. Rauner has no ground to stand. Rauner supports the 32% tax increase.

    If it were me, I’d wait a few days into Rauner’s victory tour, then go after the signature and it’s phoniness. Rauner will probably have a tasty quote or three, owning that budget, and also then owning that tax increase.

    Vetoes and signatures … governors own those.


  42. - Occam - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 11:00 am:

    @ JS Mill The budget clearly states the TRS 3% cap is effective for FY19 and That the employer (i.e. school district) is responsible for any retirement penalties for increases in excess of 3%.

    Yes, I study many suburban teacher contracts. Almost all of them have some type of incentive built in to them for retirement.

    But what will be the worst will be the mad rush this new legislation will trigger for teachers eligible to retire to suddenly jump into the retirement pipeline under their existing contract because they know that any future contract will be adjusted to reflect the new 3% cap.


  43. - Louis G. Atsaves - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 11:13 am:

    ===”This budget agreement was possible only when a few courageous GOP legislators decided last year that governing was more important than the destruction Rauner was trying to impose on the state.”===

    I seem to recall a few of the so-called courageous claiming that they got a few promises from the other side of the aisle that previously blocked reforms would see the light of day in the near future.

    Haven’t seen any of those reforms yet.


  44. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 11:21 am:

    - Louis G Atsaves -

    These past 4 years, your own credibility, rightly or wrongly, has taken hit after hit. Here’s why…

    ===So budgets can be passed by these huge vote margins if Republicans are included as real partners in the process?

    Congratulations are truly in order for all participants. Hopefully this isn’t some election year hiccup but the real deal moving forward for years to come.===

    Then this?

    ===I seem to recall a few of the so-called courageous claiming that they got a few promises from the other side of the aisle that previously blocked reforms would see the light of day in the near future.

    Haven’t seen any of those reforms yet.===

    So.. are these Republicans “dupes” for falling for something or another and not staying strong to Raunerism, or are you happy that Republicans, freed from Rauner and able to compromise, got something done.

    For the love of Pete, the lesson learned last night is that Leader Radogno could’ve gotten a deal too, but Rauner has refused to govern, and you remove Rauner, you get overwhelming bipartisan support.

    Enough was enough.


  45. - Kjb - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 11:24 am:

    Can anyone tell me which article in the budget bill contains the 3% limit on end of career salary spikes? Thx.


  46. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 12:07 pm:

    Yes we were told there is much work to be done on reforms last summer.

    Same speech again this year and now we see the annual end of session, cram, jam and at 1 PM thank you ma’am.


  47. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 12:19 pm:

    ===Same speech again this year and now we see the annual end of session, cram, jam and at 1 PM thank you ma’am.===

    What are you gonna do when Rauner signs it?

    LOL


  48. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 12:45 pm:

    - Norseman - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:02 am:

    === So budgets can be passed by these huge vote margins if Republicans are included as real partners in the process? ===

    Still have those blinders on, Louis? This budget agreement was possible only when a few courageous GOP legislators decided last year that governing was more important than the destruction Rauner was trying to impose on the state.

    You mean there was something left of this state to actually destroy when Rauner got in?

    Rauner Rauner Rauner. Makes such a great hammering anvil.

    This state was destroyed WAAAYYY before Rauner took his turn at it.


  49. - Morty - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 12:47 pm:

    By neutering the retirement bonus you will create the unexpected consequence of teachers NOT taking the bonus and insteadretiring without notice and doing a lane change in the last few years of a career- which will stick the district with the penalty costs.

    Districts will respond by trying to freeze any pay raises to all teachers to 3% so as to not trigger any potential penalties (you can´t arbitarily freeze just teachers who could potentially retire- that would lead to age discrimination charges)

    So the overall effect will be a lowering of all salaries of teachers at a time when there is already a teacher shortage happening or essentially a cost shift on districts that are willing to pay a more competitive salary.


  50. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 12:58 pm:

    –You mean there was something left of this state to actually destroy when Rauner got in?–

    What’s the objective of your chronic whining and childish tantrums? Do you get a pudding pop before naptime?

    Here’s a news flash for you: life is full of one g-d problem after another, then you die. Try to be an adult about it.


  51. - DuPage - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 1:22 pm:

    The “salary spikes” are not as widespread as they were years ago. In many school districts, the high up administration gets the lions share of end of career salary spikes. Many districts don’t give the teachers much or any salary spikes that even approach 3%. Same with SURS, the majority of employees don’t get a large bonus of any kind. Exceptions being high up administrators
    such as state university presidents and community college presidents. Some of them get additional years of their contracts paid, retroactive raises, and years of paid health insurance as a package deal to get them to leave.


  52. - RNUG - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 1:26 pm:

    == . Will this be applied to the other retirement systems as well? ==

    Unless you have big political connections, pension spiking doesn’t happen in SERS.

    It was a formal process in TRS.


  53. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 3:21 pm:

    “You mean there was something left of this state to actually destroy when Rauner got in?”

    Why is Rauner’s campaign message to save the state worth anything if there’s nothing left to save? Why is he even running?


  54. - Louis G. Atsaves - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 6:42 pm:

    Oswego Willy, please already. Are you claiming your gratitude over this passed budget is genuine, or are you still on your validation of tax increases previously opposed is genuine?

    Nice to see a little cooperation in Springfield for a change. If you don’t feel that warm glow . . .


  55. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 6:50 pm:

    Oh - Louis G. Atsaves -

    ===Are you claiming your gratitude over this passed budget is genuine, or are you still on your validation of tax increases previously opposed is genuine?===

    I haven’t been traveling all over Illinois calling it the Madigan Tax, then signing a budget that 100% requires every dime of that 32% tax increase.

    You keep elevating me to governor. Besides - Norseman - and maybe a few more folks, not many people want that, lol.

    ===Nice to see a little cooperation in Springfield for a change===

    lol

    The budget passed 153-20… overwhelming bipartisan veto-proof majorities to make sure Rauner couldn’t blow it up.

    It’s easy to see why there was cooperation, to save Illinois.

    ===If you don’t feel that warm glow . . .===

    Oh, I do. They legislature saved Illinois. They should be proud.

    Rauner will now sign a budget, and validate, and certify that 32% tax increase… with his own signature.

    I’m ecstatic… for Republicans, for Democrats, for Illinois… and a message to Raunerites that enough is enough.


  56. - John 56 - Friday, Jun 1, 18 @ 12:33 pm:

    Downstate teachers should pay their own TRS pension, not have it picked up by the school.
    I believe they evade Illinois tax on their pension this way. Is this true, Rick?


  57. - John 56 - Friday, Jun 1, 18 @ 12:34 pm:

    Rick,
    I meant that they evade tax on their half of the TRS contribution every month. Do they pay either Illinois or federal tax on their monthly contribution (paid by the school district)?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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