Illinois State Budget
Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka is warning of “a $2 billion collapse” next year when the state’s temporary income tax increase begins to roll back.
The Chicago Democrat cut $250 million for renovations to the state Capitol from the $35.7 billion spending plan, saying the state can’t afford to move forward with improvements this year. He also said he has directed state agencies to make additional cuts, including selling half the state’s 21 airplanes.
Illinois lawmakers continued to grapple Wednesday with a new state budget, as Republicans ripped majority Democrats for spending beyond their means with a plan even Democrats acknowledge leaves “big unanswered questions” about the state’s finances.
Having given up on extending Illinois’ temporary income tax increase — at least for now — the Illinois Legislature is moving forward with a scaled-back budget that could lead to layoffs, further delays in paying the state’s bills and a post-election vote to make the tax hike permanent or generate some other source of revenue.
House Speaker Michael Madigan emerged from a Memorial Day caucus meeting and told reporters that he was dropping the idea of making the 5 percent income tax permanent — and crafting a budget blueprint that holds the line on spending but is not the “doomsday” plan the House overwhelmingly rejected on Friday.
House Speaker Michael Madigan said Friday that lawmakers will try again to draft a 2015 budget after the House overwhelmingly rejected a $34.5 billion budget that would have made deep cuts to schools and social services next year in a vote one Republican critic called “all theater.”
“He’s basically taking this position of opposing the governor’s budget, without offering anything – ANYTHING – in its place,” Vallas said.
House Speaker Michael Madigan said Wednesday that his chamber’s effort to pass a budget without first securing all the needed revenue would aid a push to make an income tax hike permanent, but his colleagues in the Senate were not happy with the unusual move.
Gov. Pat Quinn outlined his case Wednesday for making Illinois’ temporary income tax increase permanent, predicting “extreme and radical” budget cuts to schools and services without additional revenue.
Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to propose making Illinois’ temporary income tax increase permanent in order to avoid massive budget cuts when he presents his election year budget address Wednesday, according to lawmakers briefed on his plans.
Illinois State Board of Education Superintendent Christopher Koch had sought a $1 billion increase in his department’s budget for next year. Instead, lawmakers have recommended a $1 billion decrease as part of a preliminary budget blueprint.
More than three weeks ahead of the governor’s budget address, a government watchdog group has issued its own plan for bringing state finances back to good health.
The drop in revenue reflects an expected decrease in the state’s income tax. The temporary hike is scheduled to drop from its current 5 percent to 3.75 percent next January.
With a 2011 state income tax increase set to expire at the end of the calendar year, the governor and Illinois lawmakers are facing a huge drop in state revenue, which would affect many social service groups that rely on the state for funding.
Gov. Pat Quinn lost another round in his bid to block lawmakers’ paychecks until they send him a pension reform plan, when the Illinois Appellate Court denied his request to stop legislators from getting paid.
Seeking to pressure lawmakers into acting on comprehensive pension reform, Gov. Pat Quinn used his budgetary veto powers on Wednesday to suspend legislative salaries until they come up with a plan.
The Democrat-controlled Legislature began piecing together a new state budget Tuesday that avoids the steep cuts of recent years and also gave final approval to a historic expansion of Medicaid, as Republicans accused their colleagues across the aisle of having “an insatiable appetite to spend money we don’t have.”
Congress isn’t the only government body facing a “financial cliff.” Illinois lawmakers also are being warned about the state’s dire financial situation, which could get even worse if the federal government has to slash funding to the states.
Gov. Pat Quinn says the state’s Medicaid system is on the verge of collapse, and to save it, billions of dollars in spending must be cut. One service that could end on the chopping block is hospice care for the poor.
A conservative think tank has proposed an alternative state budget that would cut wages for state employees by 10 percent; require retired workers to pay for their own health care premiums; and force local school districts to fund teacher pensions, instead of the state.