Despite an economy decimated by shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Illinois House is poised to consider a $42.64 billion operating budget for next year, a 6.8% increase over current spending that is heavily reliant on federal assistance.
The governor’s stay-at-home order aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus left shops closed and more than 1 million Illinois residents out of work. But Democrats who control the General Assembly expect $36.96 billion in revenue for the fiscal year that begins July 1, Majority Leader Greg Harris said. That would leave a $5.8 billion hole lawmakers would look to Washington to fill.
Man, is that ever a dangerous proposition. The cuts the governor will have to make on his own if the feds don’t come through are going to be the ugliest we’ve ever seen, and the courts may order the state to spend anyway, like they did in the Rauner years. True ugliness is on the way if DC doesn’t come through.
Back to the AP…
The proposed $42.6 billion in spending outpaces the $39.9 billion outlay approved last spring for the current spending plan, before expected cushioning this week, according to budget documents. But it’s $852 million, or 2%, less than what Pritzker proposed in February, just weeks before COVID-19 prompted him to close nonessential businesses and issue a stay-at-home order. […]
The $7.2 billion in general state funds that would go to K-12 schools for the formula ensures the statewide minimum increase the law requires, but nothing more for individual districts.
Included in the budget is billions of dollars for coronavirus-related spending, from $600 million for contact tracing and testing, to more than $200 million for small business grants for those forced to close up shop.
Total CARES Act spending for this fiscal year is $2.8 billion and $3.8 billion in FY21.
* Center Square…
The budget includes $90 million in increased spending for the State Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency Fund created by a separate bill for the current fiscal year. For fiscal 2021, there is an undetermined appropriation in the Local Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency Fund from the CARES Act.
There’s also $210 million for the Illinois Housing Development Authority to provide COVID-19 relief, which includes emergency rental assistance. […]
For the state’s universities, there’s a total of nearly $1.2 billion, an increase of nearly $1.8 million from the year before. There’s increased spending of $1.4 million for Chicago State University, $120,000 less for Illinois State University, $2,000 less for Southern Illinois University, and half a million more for the University of Illinois. All other universities will have flat funding levels from fiscal 2020. […]
There’s $100 million less for the State Employees’ Group Health Insurance plan than what was in the governor’s proposed budget.
There’s an increase of $16.6 million to the Department of Children and Family Services for expansion of Family Preservation Programs.
Illinois’ veterans homes will get $13.1 million more to cover costs associated with pandemic preparedness.
The Department of Corrections gets $40.1 million more than last year, an increase of 2.7 percent.
The proposed budget also reduces Motor Fuel Tax money to local governments by $31 million.
Senate Bill 2099 as amended by the House creates the Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency, or CURE Borrowing Act and authorizes the state to borrow up to $5 billion from the Federal Reserve. The money would be used to cover projected revenue losses for fiscal year 2020, which ends June 30, and fiscal year 2021, which begins July 1.
The measure now heads to the Illinois Senate for concurrence.
$5 billion isn’t $5.8 billion.
As I write this (6:40 pm), the bill is awaiting Senate action.
…Adding… The Senate passed the borrowing bill. From the pool report…
The Senate reconvened at about 6:45 p.m. and Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) presented and passed SB 2099. The bill creates the Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency Borrowing Act and allows the governor to borrow up to $5 billion through the Municipality Liquidity Facility program through the federal CARES Act to help stabilize the FY21 budget.
“We are not proposing to borrow $5 billion on day one. It is a credit facility, essentially a bridge loan. We will borrow as needed to meet current obligations,” Harmon said.
Senate Republicans were opposed to the measure. Sen. John Curran (R-Downers Grove) and Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) argued that Democrats are rushing the bill and that lawmakers should wait until they actually know how much money they’ll receive from the federal government through the next coronavirus stimulus package. Rezin said “We (Republicans) haven’t even seen the budget yet.”
“I would say this,” Harmon said. “Borrowing is far from optimal but it’s certainly the best option among the bad options we have. This is the time the government should be spending — when others can’t.”
SB 2099 passed 37-19.