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Digging out

Friday, Feb 8, 2019

* More from the Pritzker administration’s new financial report

Furthermore, as this new administration continues to unearth the true costs taxpayers now face, another clear finding is that the previous administration failed to perform other strikingly basic tasks of government, including:

    • Allowing massive project delays and cost overruns for IT systems that still fail to function properly, putting vulnerable citizens at risk for losing healthcare services;
    • Permitting staffing levels to atrophy at critical executive branch agencies, including reducing the numbers of State Troopers and understaffing caseworkers at human services field offices;
    • Ignoring audit findings, leading to costly consent decrees;
    • Failing to process revenue receipts in a timely way;
    • Defaulting on rent payments – for instance, on the administration’s federal office in Washington DC;
    • Failing to follow federal OSHA and Illinois Department of Labor staffing enforcement plans. This
    lack of adequate staffing put state, local and private sector workers at greater risk of on-the-job injuries. Failure to comply also resulted in the loss of nearly $3.2 million in federal funding – almost 50 percent of federal OSHA funding in FY17 and FY18.

The governor’s chief of staff was in DC to visit the office and was told by the landlord that the state was something like a year behind in rent.

* More

In addition to the financial damage done to the state over the last four years and its resulting impact on Illinois’ most vulnerable residents, one of the most tragic events came in the form of the Rauner administration’s handling of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the Quincy Veterans’ Home. By September 2015, 54 people from the home tested positive for Legionnaire’s disease, 12 of whom died due to the illness. Following this event, Legionnaire’s has been found in surrounding areas; further highlighting the critical need for meaningful infrastructure investment by the state. Rebuilding the Quincy Veterans’ Home is estimated to cost the state in excess of $100 million along with a larger match from the federal government.

Other state-run facilities continue to struggle to provide adequate care. Insufficient medical care for inmates at the state’s correctional facilities led to the Lippert consent decree in December 2018, as the state is still grappling with the costs associated with meeting the requirements under the Rasho settlement for mental health treatment from 2016. In FY20 alone, this will lead to cost increases for medical and other care at Correctional facilities in the tens of millions of dollars range and implementation of an electronic medical records system that will cost millions of dollars.

Other continuing financial pressures that will require State investment going forward include:

    • Increasing funding for the Illinois State Police to help rebuild their ranks after the suspension of cadet classes in FY16 and FY17 led to a decline in state troopers. It will cost Illinoisans over $8 million in FY20 for two cadet classes to help build their ranks.
    • Requirements for Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to put into place a federally compliant child welfare information system.
    • Reversing the damage done when a new Integrated Eligibility System (IES) failed to achieve its desired outcome. The IES was intended to make the Long-Term Care application process more efficient but actually did the opposite, resulting in increased delays in processing applications and admissions under the previous administration.

Oy.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

37 Comments
  1. - Demoralized - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 10:35 am:

    ==The governor’s chief of staff was in DC to visit the office and was told by the landlord that the state was something like a year behind in rent.==

    I think you would find severe delays in a lot of buildings leased by the state. It would be interesting to see a report from CMS as to what the current payment cycle is for paying state leases.


  2. - Montrose - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 10:42 am:

    When Rauner said he would run government like a business, he never said it would be run like a successful business.


  3. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 10:42 am:

    Obviously the current and former Governors share the trait of being new to holding office but having a great team can help stop these kinds of things from happening under the current Governor. Maybe if Rauner had maintained a steady team instead of “superstars,” he could have avoided it as well.


  4. - Shemp - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 10:43 am:

    Probably easier to have paid the backlog, rents and hired more people if there was actual money with which to do it. The G.A. sending over phony baloney budgets should get as much or more blame blame.


  5. - Political Animal - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 10:45 am:

    Lots of this isn’t even close to accurate either. They blame Rauner for the credit rating which was the lowest in the nation years before he took office?

    Sore winner. Backwards facing. Unproductive and dishonest.


  6. - Chicago_Downstater - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 10:47 am:

    This is a devastating report. It’s validating as an employee at a nonprofit to see the numbers behind the stories we’ve been hearing ever since Rauner decided that just tipping over the apple cart wasn’t enough, but rather running it over with a locomotive was the way to go.

    I have a lot of hope that with some hard work we can put the pieces back together. There are going to be some very hard, devastating moments to come. But I hope in the end we can be stronger at the broken places as they say.


  7. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 10:47 am:

    ===They blame Rauner for the credit rating which was the lowest in the nation years before he took office.===

    … and continued to go down during Rauner’s tenure.

    Rich had multiple Posts on downgrades on Rauner’s watch.

    But… you already knew that.


  8. - Steve Rogers - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 10:48 am:

    Rauner and GA allowing Quinn’s income tax increase to sunset should get as much or more blame. There, that sounds better.


  9. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 10:49 am:

    ===The G.A. sending over phony baloney budgets should get as much or more blame===

    BVR signed the last one and claimed it was balanced with a bit of work.


  10. - Last Bull Moose - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 10:49 am:

    Every time they turn over a rock something loathesome crawls out. Most of these are not instant fixes, but they all cost money.

    The IT issues can become a money pit. It may take the new team 3 months to figure out where they are and the paths forward. Here haste really does make waste.


  11. - Anon Y - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 10:49 am:

    IT cost overruns for systems that results in incomplete financial picture. ERP one consultant after one what a mess.


  12. - Demoralized - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 10:50 am:

    ==Lots of this isn’t even close to accurate either==

    OK. Then tell us where it’s wrong. You must know if you can make such a statement.

    ==They blame Rauner for the credit rating ==

    The Governor blamed Quinn. What’s good for the goose . . .

    ==Sore winner.==

    lol. Pointing out the difficulties he faces is hardly being a sore winner. You want dishonest? That comment is dishonest.


  13. - Perrid - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 10:50 am:

    Political Animal, If you want to blame Quinn, Blago, etc. as well as Rauner, for some of the points you would be correct. So? The facts are the facts, this is where we are. You are really going to ding the report because they were mean to Rauner?


  14. - Demoralized - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 10:51 am:

    ==because they were mean to Rauner==

    We had people spend four years whining about people being mean to Rauner. Why should they stop now?


  15. - Political Animal - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 10:52 am:

    Perrid,

    It’s not the numbers that are the problem. It’s the over the top exaggerated political rhetoric and blaming everything on Rauner, even though nearly all of these problems are at least 16 years in the making.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 10:55 am:

    ===It’s the over the top exaggerated political rhetoric and blaming everything on Rauner===

    “Pat Quinn failed”

    The last Rauner-Quinn debate. Use the Google Key.

    Any and Every question asked to Rauner?

    Rauner began his response… “Pat Quinn failed”

    Same… as it ever was.


  17. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 10:57 am:

    –The governor’s chief of staff was in DC to visit the office and was told by the landlord that the state was something like a year behind in rent.–

    Slow pay, no pay, the Rauner Way.

    Must not have been a Cellini-linked building.


  18. - JB13 - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 10:59 am:

    “The costs taxpayers face…”

    No one else.

    It’s all our fault, obviously.


  19. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 11:02 am:

    Let’s see how the pensions are funded the next four years. Will obligations continue to grow?


  20. - Steve - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 11:02 am:

    Illinois proves a balanced budget provision in the constitution don’t balance the budget. Nebraska’s limit on issuing debt is the only way to limit spending.


  21. - Political Animal - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 11:05 am:

    OW,

    You’re making my point for me. That was Rauner’s campaign rhetoric.

    After he won did you ever hear him including that type of thing in government documents?


  22. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 11:08 am:

    ===After he won did you ever hear him including that type of thing in government documents?===

    You sure?

    Did I ever hear him?

    Hear him refer to “decades of mismanagement” or “doing things different from failed administrations”?

    You sure you want that?


  23. - The Big Salad - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 11:14 am:

    Still in campaign mode. A conspicuous placeholder to return to in X months/years when some of these still aren’t addressed, in order to say —

    “Don’t you remember we told you in week 4 how bad it was??”


  24. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 11:17 am:

    ===Still in campaign mode.===

    No. Institutional knowledge reminds me Gov. Thompson set his governing table by laying out “its worse than I thought” to navigate his gubernatorial agenda, through policy and budgets, or in other words… governing.

    ===A conspicuous placeholder to return to in X months/years when some of these still aren’t addressed, in order to say —

    “Don’t you remember we told you in week 4 how bad it was??”===

    Part A and B, completing the Thompson Pivot.


  25. - JS Mill - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 11:20 am:

    =We had people spend four years whining about people being mean to Rauner.=

    I thought the GOP was the party of personal responsibility and tough guys like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood? Not so much these delicate types now.

    =Slow pay, no pay, the Rauner Way.=

    Trump is notorious for that as well.


  26. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 11:26 am:

    IT systems - does that include the financial ERP? People I know working on it use words that can’t be posted here. It is a trainwreck!


  27. - Informed Mom - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 11:26 am:

    Flaws in the Integrated Eligibility System (IES) bit almost every other caretaker that I know. Here we are, managing the day-to-day details as caretakers for our relatives who are disabled and/or elderly, when the state antagonizes us by dropping our loved-ones from healthcare services, supports, and even food subsidies. Many caretakers I know discovered the system errors after standing in line to pick up seizure medication, or some other lifesaving prescription, or while trying to make an essential doctor’s appointment. This wouldn’t have been too bad if the state was capable of rectifying their mistakes in a timely fashion but, of course, calls went unanswered and local offices were too swamped to intervene in time. The desperation building up all across Illinois has been palpable. This was all a feature, not a bug, of the IES for the Rauner administration.


  28. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 11:28 am:

    This is just additional justification for an impending tax increase. How can there not be one, unless we are planning to increase deficit spending by $10B.


  29. - a drop in - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 11:30 am:

    All I see is things not being paid for. What, exactly, did the Rauner administration spend revenue on?


  30. - Turn Around For What? - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 11:50 am:

    =IT systems that still fail to function properly=

    They need to take a good look at the BidBuy procurement system that the prior Administration put in place.


  31. - SSL - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 12:01 pm:

    I’m not a big JB fan, but any politician taking office would do what JB did. Get a level set and then move forward. We all know the state is in terrible fiscal shape. Today’s release tells us the scope of the problem. It’s what comes next that’s important.

    Specifics around how JB plans to fix it.


  32. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 12:39 pm:

    “When Rauner said he would run government like a business, he never said it would be run like a successful business.”

    1.4% was trying to figure out how to sell everything off once he loaded the State up with debt. Classic MO from his vulture capital days.


  33. - levivotedforjudy - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 1:11 pm:

    One of the best pieces of advice I ever got about starting a new job was to do an audit of the situation you are getting into and let the stakeholders know what was done before you so that you don’t own anyone else’s mistakes. Looks like JB is doing that.


  34. - Watchdog - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 1:13 pm:

    The OSHA thing is real. We lost millions and put every worker at risk. Division Manager of that should be in jail for neglegence. He is a Rauner hack


  35. - The Dude Abides - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 1:29 pm:

    As bad as folks thought the Rauner administration was, as Pritzker’s people are now surveying the damage we are finding that they were even worse than we thought.
    According to Madigan, he met with Rauner shortly after he took over and Rauner offered Madigan more revenue but only if a long list of demands were met. Madigan wouldn’t meet all of his demands and this is where we’re at now.


  36. - BCOSEC - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 2:05 pm:

    We won’t have a progressive income tax in Illinois until 2021 at the earliest.

    Shortly we need an accurate assessment of how much the state individual and corporate income tax rate needs to be hiked for 2019 and 2020, to both balance the budget and get the bills caught up.


  37. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 3:55 pm:

    –Nebraska’s limit on issuing debt is the only way to limit spending.–

    Apples and bowling balls. Illinois doesn’t issue debt to cover GRF overspending. It just piles onto the backlog of bills and pays them late.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
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