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Pritzker wants “actionable scenario” from agencies on potential cuts, other reductions

Friday, Sep 13, 2019

* I told subscribers about this memo a few days ago. Here’s Illinois Public Radio

State agencies are getting a warning from Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget office: Be prepared to make significant cuts next year.

A memo orders agencies to include a scenario in which 6.5 percent of current year funding would go away. They’re to find the savings through “operational efficiencies.”

The document was issued under the names of Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes and Budget Director Alexis Sturm, who say the current-year budget is still balanced. […]

“I understand the fiscal realities, but to be thinking about taking this backwards step when we’re still trying to get out of the danger zone is discouraging,” [the Illinois Collaboration on Youth’s Andrea Durbin] says. “And I hope the General Assembly and this administration are able to come together and find ways to avoid that.”

* Here’s the memo

To: All Governor’s Cabinet Directors
From: Dan Hynes, Deputy Governor, Budget & Economy
Alexis Sturm, Director, Governor’s Office of Management and Budget
Subject: Fiscal Year 2021 Spending Efficiencies Proposals
Date: September 9, 2019

Although the spring legislative session produced a successful balanced budget for fiscal year 2020, Illinois continues to face significant financial challenges, and we must continue to be wise fiscal stewards of the limited resources of State government. The State’s backlog of unpaid general funds bills that were left behind by the previous administration remained in excess of $7 billion as of June 30, 2019, and the extensive bill payment delays continue to strain the State’s network of providers and translate into millions of dollars of unnecessary interest costs.

In that context, it remains essential that agency leadership continue to evaluate current operations and procedures and set parameters for operational expenses in all agencies. Directions regarding submissions of fiscal year 2021 budget requests will be forthcoming in a few weeks from GOMB; however, even now, agency directors – working in conjunction with their Deputy Governor and GOMB staff – should be prepared to:

    1) Propose in your annual submission to GOMB an actionable scenario that includes operational efficiencies reflecting a 6.5% reduction from an estimated maintenance level of fiscal year 2021 operations funding across all appropriated funds (additional details will be forthcoming in GOMB’s budget submission request forms);

    2) Conduct a review of boards and commissions within your agency’s purview and propose elimination of statutorily created boards and commissions that would lead to a 10% reduction of them;

    3) Identify at least two significant efficiency and savings ideas for consideration in the fiscal year 2021 budget. Ideas could include (but are not limited to) items such as elimination or consolidation of duplicative programs, reduction in funding for underutilized or inefficient services, or improvements in service delivery that streamline costs. Reviews of agency audits from the last few years can provide ideas for cost savings for fiscal year 2021.

Your proposal will need to be submitted with your fiscal year 2021 budget request to GOMB. Agency directors should be prepared to implement any ideas submitted in the fiscal year 2021 budget requests. We and our staffs are available to discuss this memo and answer any questions you may have.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

56 Comments
  1. - Norseman - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 9:55 am:

    Things are improving, but fiscal problems remain. Addressing these would be good fiscal prudence. Then again, it could be a political move aimed to goose up support for Fair Tax.


  2. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 9:56 am:

    To the agencies who will be managing the infusion of capital bill projects, both vertical and horizontal, this will be an interesting exercise.


  3. - the Edge - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 9:58 am:

    This may not result in much savings, but all stipends to serve on boards and commissions could be eliminated. Those who serve shouldn’t be doing so simply for the stipend, but I’m sure there a many who do.


  4. - R A T - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 9:59 am:

    Can they turn to the IPI and ask them if they found anything to cut yet?

    You can’t get blood from a turnip will soon change to you can’t get blood from the few remaining Tier 2 employees that have not left.


  5. - Just Me 2 - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:02 am:

    They should ignore “operational efficiencies” and instead look at real program cuts. There are a variety of healthcare programs for uninsured people that we can cut if we instead move those folks over to the exchanges and Medicaid.


  6. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:05 am:

    ==Then again, it could be a political move aimed to goose up support for Fair Tax.==

    Let’s hope so. Didn’t we just spend the last year talking about how state agencies were hollowed out? If it’s not, it’s a preface for standard dem practice of loading up on highly paid chiefs while reducing the number of lower paid indians who do actual work. “Sorry, can’t fill those five positions - we need to hire another deputy chief of staff instead”


  7. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:10 am:

    scare tactics


  8. - Earnest - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:17 am:

    Love it. I continue to applaud any of our political leaders who will put their name on specific and realistic taxes or cuts. First place I’d look–large contracts for out-of-state corporations for functions which could be done by hiring cost-effective Tier II state employees who pay into our pension system, live and pay taxes in our neighborhoods. Deloitte? ACCES$? MCOs?


  9. - Steve - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:18 am:

    It is possible that Governor Pritzker wants to prepare for a national recession. There hasn’t been one in a while. Can’t blame him for thinking ahead.


  10. - City Zen - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:20 am:

    ==taking this backwards step when we’re still trying to get out of the danger zone==

    Didn’t realize there was only one exit out of the Danger Zone.


  11. - Iggy - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:20 am:

    this is such a farce. there will never be any significant action to make any of these things happen. Just a fun little memo to leak to the press to show that JB can be firm on spending.

    in other words, I’ll believe it when I see it.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:21 am:

    This is what Rep. McSweeney won’t do, as he clamors for tax cuts.

    This is governing. It will really hurt in some places.


  13. - Sicksndtired - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:28 am:

    They could get rid of DoIT & ERP


  14. - NoGifts - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:37 am:

    Be careful not to reduce the funding used as match for federal grants.


  15. - A State Employee Guy - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:38 am:

    Rauner: “We need cuts”
    Commentariat: “BURN HIM.”

    JB: “We need cuts”
    Commentariat: “That’s good leadership.”


  16. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:41 am:

    - A State Employee Guy -

    Rauner never proposed actual cuts, agency heads when asked in committee never told of those cuts too.

    Rauner is and was a phony.

    Pritzker wants an actual list that can be actionable


  17. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:44 am:

    Opting out of Daylight Savings Time could save a little money. Manar has a bill SB533.


  18. - A State Employee Guy - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:47 am:

    I dislike Rauner as much as the next guy, but it is forever interesting to me that the reaction to “make govt smaller” varies wildly based on the person saying it.


  19. - Bruce (no not him) - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:52 am:

    we need more synergies. That fix it all. oh, and any buzzwords we can find.


  20. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:52 am:

    ===to “make govt smaller” varies wildly based on the person saying it.===

    Like… Afscammy when talking about state employees… and then not listing any cuts… just hoping labor will be finished.

    That kind of difference?

    This rewriting of Raunerism, “well he did that”, is mind blowing. Rauner did nothing of a fiscal budget manner except veto budgets for a whole General Assembly, beg that his override would fail for one budget, then sign a budget exactly the type Rauner use to rail about.

    Talk of cuts were phony.

    Let’s see what these reports/memos that are returned to Hynes look like. The effort is there… thus far.


  21. - Langhorne - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:58 am:

    Cut boards and commissions 10%? This is number 2? Seriously? Chump change.

    ===a 6.5% reduction from an estimated maintenance level of fiscal year 2021 operations funding across all appropriated funds ===. So, if your estimated budget requires a 6.5% increase to be maintenance, we are back to zero, and no savings.

    If I recall, one of Pritzkers early executive orders required agencies to review prior year audits, and comment on what was being done to resolve deficiencies. That might be a good place to start, or at least include in this exercise.


  22. - Langhorne - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:05 am:

    This is also a good defense against “cuts first” opposition to the the fair tax. We will see if proposals are actionable/realistic, or scary and draconian.


  23. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:14 am:

    === or at least include in this exercise===

    It is. Try reading.


  24. - RNUG - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:20 am:

    == “operational efficiencies.” ==

    This year’s politically correct term for waste, fraud and abuse.

    == 6.5 percent of current year funding would go away ==

    Before we get to “the sky is falling”, remember most the Quinn budgets proposed cuts of 8% to 10%. And Rauner (temporarily) tried to implement a 100% cut.

    == from an estimated maintenance level of fiscal year 2021 operations funding ==

    In other words, take the 10% increased budget you were going to propose for FY21 and cut it by 6.5% overall … which will likely still result in a overall spending increase of 1% - 3% in line with inflation.


  25. - Norseman - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:21 am:

    === … but all stipends to serve on boards and commissions could be eliminated. ===

    I thought this had been done for all, but select boards a few years ago. Eliminating boards will save on travel. I doubt there will be proposals asking for the deletion of those boards with dedicated staff.


  26. - Langhorne - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:32 am:

    “Try reading”…..re audits….ouch

    So this is the second time agencies are being told to review audits.


  27. - Think Smarter - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:34 am:

    Welllllp. They’re saving money by not reimbursing state employees’ travel vouchers. But let’s pay MicroSoft for doing nothing. Ok.


  28. - Southern - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:49 am:

    Welllllp. They’re saving money by not reimbursing state employees’ travel vouchers. But let’s pay MicroSoft for doing nothing. Ok.

    They could get rid of DoIT & ERP

    First place I’d look–large contracts for out-of-state corporations for functions which could be done by hiring cost-effective Tier II state employees who pay into our pension system, live and pay taxes in our neighborhoods. Deloitte?

    Sounds like the road to savings leads to elimination of DoIT


  29. - Sue - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:51 am:

    As more State revenue is directed to pensions- less is available for everything and everyone else. It’s a fact not an opinion.


  30. - Southern_Dawg - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 12:02 pm:

    The most fiscally responsible thing an executive can is to plan for multiple fiscal scenarios. That’s exactly what’s being done here. Not happened in a long time in this state. Let’s hope 6.5% is worst case. Let’s hope it doesn’t even happen. But having your executive prepared is exactly what you want in a representative democracy.


  31. - Red Ranger - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 12:09 pm:

    Earlier this week, the Governors staff seemed like they wanted to trade ideas with Florida Governor DeSantis when hes in town. Maybe they can ask him how Florida once again had a budget surplus and how we can do the same? Just a thought.


  32. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 12:11 pm:

    ===Maybe they can ask him how Florida once again had a budget surplus and how we can do the same?===

    Explain how tourism and taxes work in Florida.

    Thanks.


  33. - don the legend - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 12:12 pm:

    ==Talk of cuts were phony.==

    And on top of that Rauner was so weak and uncommitted to his “phony cuts” he tried to replace himself on the ballot to avoid his inevitable shellacking.


  34. - Red Ranger - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 12:15 pm:

    Lots of tourists walking around in Chicago Willy. Im sure they enjoy paying the 11+% sales tax and the nearly 30% taxes and fees on hotels in Chicago. We are indeed a low tax state, aren’t we?


  35. - JS Mill - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 12:16 pm:

    =As more State revenue is directed to pensions- less is available for everything and everyone else. It’s a fact not an opinion.=

    You need to get a new tuba, yours only plays one note.


  36. - Soft R - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 12:18 pm:

    The tollway just added over 550,000 in salaries of people coming over from CHA. Maybe we have all the department heads cut a certain amount of work force and send them out to the tollway, they seem to have tons of money to spend.


  37. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 12:18 pm:

    ===Lots of tourists walking around in Chicago Willy. Im sure they enjoy paying ===

    If they hated it, they wouldn’t be there.


  38. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 12:20 pm:

    Did he send one of these to DCFS?

    Just asking, because, you know, it’s been chronically underfunded.

    Does the Governor appreciate the irony that in order to actually examine the state’s programs to determine what’s working, what’s most cost effective, and what should be invested in or what should be changed that it costs money to actually do those evaluations?

    The People of Illinois have to invest in the things that improve their government. How many PSAs at state agencies are sitting there performing tasks that lack significant education or even employer provided advance training?

    Program implementation, evaluation, and design isn’t an organic skill set people are born with and especially if they’re not able to recognize they could be doing their job better.


  39. - Drake Mallard - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 12:25 pm:

    Getting rid of Do-it and Erp would greatly help cut cost. Somebody should review the overtime caused bye sloppy disfunctional installation of these new systems.


  40. - Red Ranger - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 12:26 pm:

    Agree Rich. I guess my point was in the same week the Governors staff was mocking the Governor of Florida they were also sending around memos warning of significant fiscal challenges. Something about glass houses and stones comes to mind when thinking about the people on the 16th floor.


  41. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 12:31 pm:

    ===Lots of tourists walking around in Chicago===

    But are you explaining why it works in Florida, or…

    Also, how about federal funding?

    Is there a difference in both states?


  42. - OneLittleCherry - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 12:32 pm:

    It just struck me that this may be why Pritzker kept many of the Rauner agency CFO’s. They’re good at cutting and hiding/obfuscating the damage. Folks like IDOR’s Staley did it with aplomb for 4 years.


  43. - Union Thug Gramma - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 12:32 pm:

    We have children dying because DCFS has already been cut to the bone.
    In Corrections? Staff are already working back to back doubles, prisons in lockdown, not because of and discipline problems but do to staff shortages. And of course, being short of staff AND overcrowded is a great way to run prisons.
    Our universities are still reeling from the no budget fiascos of the last administration, along with home health care, developmental care, child care, caring in general.
    Oh, and one of the biggest horrors is that gun nuts can’t get their conceal/carry permits quickly…cuz….again….staff shortages.


  44. - Skeptic - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 1:14 pm:

    @Union Thug Gramma: You’re right on all counts. But misses the point. Unlike he-who-lost-by-double-digits, Pritzker doesn’t *want* to cut 6.5% from the budget, he wants to be ready in case it has to be done. Just like I want to be ready in case I have to take a cut in pay. It’s only prudent.


  45. - At least the budget is balanced.. - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 1:27 pm:

    And this includes the unpaid bills from prior years?


  46. - Think Smarter - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 2:02 pm:

    Hey Thug GMA - there is a revolving door of cadet classes at IDOC to address your staff concerns. Has been for over 3 years now. Slow your roll. :-)


  47. - Bertrum Cates - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 2:13 pm:

    Agencies will respond by keeping Approps budget increase asks to 6.5 percent.


  48. - Politix - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 2:21 pm:

    Statutorily created Boards and Commissions are typically unfunded. Cutting or closing them will have a minimal impact.


  49. - Bertrum Cates - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 2:22 pm:

    = It just struck me that this may be why Pritzker kept many of the Rauner agency CFO’s. They’re good at cutting and hiding/obfuscating the damage. =

    CFOs still report to the agency directors.

    Even still, it is not like the Rauner era CFOs were asking in most instances for smaller budgets. Not having one at all does not really lie at their feet.


  50. - revvedup - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 2:48 pm:

    There is a large amount of waste in State government, from do-nothing managers and Rutan-exempts, to needless forms, policy, and procedures consuming resources without adding value (defined here as providing actual services essential to the agency’s mission. It all adds up, like the State agency that emailed me a letter AND paid to send it Certified Mail w/return receipt. How many times a year do they waste money that way? How many managers do you need to supervise perpetually understaffed agencies (even with hiring ramp-ups)?


  51. - Simple Simon - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 2:57 pm:

    ==There is a large amount of waste in State government==

    Name it. Seriously. Your certified mail example is inconsequential. Well-placed insiders might be able to shave a bit here and there, but there are plenty of examples already given here today of the state not being able to perform its duties due to previous cuts that must be reversed.

    And where are our local conservatives praising this exercise? And those who couldn’t support the graduated tax without some sort of cuts, is this enough for you? Weigh in boldly with your support.


  52. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 3:01 pm:

    ===There is a large amount of waste in State government===

    According to IPI… 0.14% waste.


  53. - R A T - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 3:05 pm:

    “It just struck me that this may be why Pritzker kept many of the Rauner agency CFO’s.”

    I’m still confused by how JB is doing this. The CFO’s and the Internal Auditors that worked with them to make sure there were no audit findings while not paying bills. Now they are good at using those ethics to continue questionable action without silly regulation and control applying to them.


  54. - Cornish - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 3:13 pm:

    I do wonder, as others have here, if this is just for show. Either way, something has to give as the state will not have enough to cover it’s pension debt obligation and continue with business as usual. Especially considering declining population and a coming recession.


  55. - Leatherneck - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 3:14 pm:

    Didn’t Quinn do something similar for the FY15 budget, in hopes of getting support for extension of the 5% flat tax? Anyone remember the separate columns in the FY15 budget book for “Recommended” and “Not Recommended” budget appropriations?

    Maybe JB is going to also have “recommended” and “not recommended” appropriation columns in the FY21 budget book–”not recommended” meaning the cuts that would have to take place if voters don’t approve the progressive tax.


  56. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 4:13 pm:

    “there is a revolving door of cadet classes at IDOC to address your staff concerns. Has been for over 3 years now. Slow your roll. :-)
    Not true, Last I heard IDOC was short over a thousand officers statewide.


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