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Rep. Crespo: ‘It’s an empty promise that gives people a false sense of hope’

Wednesday, May 15, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Isabel wrote a story for subscribers last month about Rep. Fred Crespo regularly pointing out bills that are subject to appropriations during floor debates. Rep. Crespo did it again yesterday. Capitol News Illinois

The Illinois House approved a bill Tuesday to allow student teachers to receive stipends while earning their education degree, even though the money needed to fund those stipends is unlikely to be included in next year’s budget.

House Bill 4652, by Rep. Barbara Hernandez, D-Aurora, authorizes the Illinois Board of Higher Education to disburse stipends of $10,000 per semester to student teachers working in public schools. That’s the rough equivalent of $15 an hour, based on a standard 40-hour work week. It also authorizes stipends of $2,000 per semester to the teachers who supervise them.

But the authority to disburse those funds would be subject to appropriations. And with an estimated annual cost of $68 million to fully fund the program, Hernandez conceded it is unlikely such funding will be included in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year that lawmakers are currently negotiating. […]

“Here we go again, folks. We’re passing bills that are subject to appropriations,” said Rep. Fred Crespo, D-Hoffman Estates. “I get the sense that we think it’s like Monopoly money. But you’re creating a line item and you’re putting pressure on the budget. It’s an empty promise that gives people a false sense of hope.”



  1. - Two Left Feet - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 7:05 am:

    The next argument is that “subject to appropriations” is found X amount of times in the statutes and have never been funded.

  2. - Proud Papa Bear - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 8:37 am:

    He’s not completely wrong. That’s why, when we gave input, that we pushed for prioritizing those with need. That way, if the state comes nowhere near the $68 million, then whatever the state can provide will go to those who need it to get through student teaching.
    Also, people need to know when they start a program if the money will be there for them when they student teach, which can be several years down the road. Doing things on a year-to-year basis creates an unstable scenario for candidates.

  3. - JS Mill - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 9:28 am:

    It seems like they do this all the time in education, but it probably seems like that because that is the area that I pay closest attention to.

    In the last two years they passed two bills with an estimated funding need of $277 million. Both good bills. One to provide every student with a free lunch and the other to help fund student teachers. One would fill a genuine basic need for kids and the other would improve the teacher pipeline.

    They must not be real priorities or they would have funded them. Maybe they need some kind of therapy?

  4. - Socially DIstant watcher - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 9:44 am:

    All in favor of eating dessert first say aye in the opinion of the chair the ayes have it.

  5. - TJ - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 9:58 am:

    He’s right. It’s pretty darn easy to spend other people’s money, and that’s all that the general assembly is doing here. Oh, student teachers can be paid? Great! What’s that? Where’s the money coming from? Not our problem, school boards. Do it yourselves.

  6. - TJ - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 9:59 am:

    edit: and by “school boards,” I meant the state board.

  7. - levivotedforjudy - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 10:36 am:

    Not just education. It has happened in economic development a lot over the years.

  8. - Juvenal - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 11:05 am:

    I am going to be a contrarian on this point.

    “Subject to Appropriation” is language that lawmakers add because state agencies say “We love your idea, we just don’t have the money for it, so we’ll have to oppose it.”

    The truth is, they hate your idea because:

    1) it involves change, which they hate.
    2) It wasn’t their idea.
    3) They think they are the experts, and lawmakers exist to be placated.

    My advice to lawmakers is to tell the state agencies “Thanks but no thanks.” Do not make the change subject to appropriation, and instead ask them where they would like you to make cuts elsewhere.

    If the agencies can come up with $800M in cuts for the governor, they can come up with $800M in cuts for the General Assembly.

    And tell them if they cant find the cuts themselves, you will eliminate management positions.

    Leader Crespo, call me anytime.

  9. - Norseman - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 11:15 am:

    Being an early adopter of the “subject to appropriations” contingency phrase for non-objectionable new programs that wasn’t in the spending priorities of the agency, I found most legislators never followed through with the money.

    Frustratingly, the auditors would ding us for not implementing these programs despite the protestations that it wasn’t an obligation without an appropriation.

  10. - Dirty Red - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 12:11 pm:

    Fred Crespo has taken a lot of heat from his own members for raising these issues even though he has been around long enough to know they create very, VERY real problems that can have an overly harmful affect on the very constituents these budget lines are meant to protect. Take it from a RINO who appreciated working with Rep. Crespo - the long-time chair of the House Committee on Appropriations (General Services) and Legislative Audit Commission - during the impasse and the state’s fiscal catastrophe leading up to it:

    Listen to him.

  11. - Commonsense in Illinois - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 12:41 pm:

    Fred Crespo is spot on. For years in my career, I regularly criticized the practice of legislators and their staffs inserting the “subject to appropriation” language in bills. Adding that makes the bill meaningless, which in turn makes the statute toothless.

    The practice needs to be done away with, and any law with that provision needs to be amended and the provision removed.

  12. - Demoralized - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 1:05 pm:


    You couldn’t be more wrong. And it’s clear you don’t understand how the appropriation process works. Without an appropriation agencies couldn’t do this stuff even if they wanted to. And I’m assuming this appropriation would come from the General Revenue Fund which is an entirely different issue.

  13. - Norseman - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 3:08 pm:

    === The truth is … ===

    The truth is that it’s not the truth, but an observation that may or may not be applicable to a particular situation. It certainly doesn’t describe the legislation I dealt with.

    Agencies are inadequately funded as it is, so adding another program - adjudged good or bad - is a strain on resources. Obviously, these new initiatives are not a priority or else they’d already be a part of agency programming. As far as expertise, for the most part agencies do possess more than the average solon. However, I know several long-term members who were quite expert in their legislative areas of interest.

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