* Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) asked the Legislative Research Unit, which is now part of the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, to look into how much was swept or transferred out of any state funds which pay for the FOID card program, background checks for gun-related purposes and concealed carry licensing.
LRU produced this chart on spending from the State Police Firearm Services Fund. Click the pic for a better view…
Man, that’s a lot of money being left on or swiped from the table that could be used to better administer those programs.
* From Illinois State Rifle Association lobbyist Ed Sullivan’s analysis…
1.) The State Police have consistently not used all the money available in the Firearm Services Fund over the five years covered in this report. On average the State Police have not used $2,698,753 per year for the identified purposed in this report: administration of the FOID Program, background checks for firearm-related services, and conceal-carry licensing.
a. Revenue – Spending = unused funds (averaged for the 5 years)
2.) The average ending balance of the Firearm Services Fund over the five years covered in this report is $6,847302. This number includes five years of fund sweeps totaling $13,210,268. If the fund sweeps are added back into the total ending balance for the five years covered in the report, the Firearm Services Fund would have an average ending balance of $9,489,355.
3.) The State Police Services Fund receives $1 of every FOID Card fee. This fund is used to administer the Firearm Transfer Inquiry Program (FTIP). The five years that this report covers there has been $15,296,510 swept from this fund.
4.) Total fund sweeps/transfers into the General Fund of $13,210,268 from the State Police Firearm Services Fund and $15,296,510 from the State Police Services Fund over the five years covered in this report total $28,506, 778.
5.) When the conceal Carry act was being written, the sponsors of the bill purposefully made the fee $150 so the State Police had enough money to run the FOID System and the CCW System. Former Gov. Quinn was starving the FOID system and FOID card turnaround was pushing six months or more. The intent of the high CCW fee was to make the systems self-reliant.
a. By not using the fees generated by FOID and CCW the State Police opened themselves up to the General Assembly sweeping the perceived excess funds.
6.) According to this report, the FY2018 BIMP, which authorized interfund borrowing and fund sweeps, required that money be transferred back to a fund from which it had been swept or borrowed if that fund has “insufficient cash” to support appropriated spending.
a. The State Police did not declare insufficient cash to maintain the mission of the Firearm Services Fund or the State Police Services Fund otherwise the fund sweeps of $13,210,268 and $15,296,510 would have been paid back.
b. P.A. 100-23 (2017), adding 30ILCS 105/5h.5(b) and 30 ILCS 105/8.52(b)
7.) If the FOID card fee was increased by $10, and all the revenue generated went to the Firearm Services Fund, the fees generated would equal approximately $2,300,000 a year for ten years. Put another way, the State Police are not spending fees presently collected that would equal a $10 increase in the FOID fees per year. These statistics do not include average ending balances that have not been spent or average ending balances with Fund Sweeps not spent.
* ISRA press release…
“Five years of fund sweeps is unacceptable and needs to be addressed immediately. Beyond the delays and problems in the FOID and ICCL program, these fund sweeps are hampering citizens from exercising their Constitutional Right. Our office gets daily calls from people who are having difficulties navigating the FOID card process so it’s no wonder we see these problems, given a significant portion of the money intended to fund the program has been raided for other state programs,” [Richard Pearson, Executive Director of the Illinois State Rifle Association] said.
Efforts by anti-gun groups to push legislation that would more than double the FOID card fee was a call to action for ISRA to get unbiased data on how the FOID and Concealed Carry programs have been managed and how they are funded. The anti-gunners insisted the program was underfunded and therefore the FOID fee must be raised. The experienced ISRA lobby team worked with Rep. Wheeler (R-Oswego) to have the Legislative Research Unit produce an unbiased accounting of the revenues generated by the FOID card and ICCL fees.
“We pursued this investigation because we wanted honest gun owners to know the truth about what was happening to the fees that they pay for the right to own a firearm in Illinois,” Pearson said. “We worked with Rep. Wheeler to secure a report from the Legislative Research Unit on what was happening to the user fees and now we know. There is no shortage – just money being taken from these accounts to be used for other things.”