FY15 http://wuis.org en Illinois' Credit Prognosis: Negative http://wuis.org/post/illinois-credit-prognosis-negative <p>Wall Street's view of Illinois' financial health has taken a hit, thanks largely to the state budget that took effect at the start of this month. Pensions also continue to be a drag.&nbsp;</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">When Illinois Democrats passed the state's latest budget, many seemed to hold their nose. Credit ratings agencies are more direct: Standard &amp;&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Poors</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;has revised Illinois' credit outlook to "negative."&nbsp;</span></p> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 23:29:40 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29898 at http://wuis.org Illinois' Credit Prognosis: Negative Illinois To Require Bulletproof Vests http://wuis.org/post/illinois-require-bulletproof-vests <p>A new law signed Wednesday is intended to keep police officers safe, by requiring they get protective gear.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A bulletproof vest will become part of an officers' standard equipment issue. Contingent on money, of course.</span></p><p>The new law includes provisions to help ensure there is funding.</p><p>It law requires communities and the state apply for a federal grant, that provides matching funds specifically for the purchase of bullet proof vests.</p> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 11:52:00 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29436 at http://wuis.org Illinois To Require Bulletproof Vests Bill Backlog Improvement Could Be Temporary http://wuis.org/post/bill-backlog-improvement-could-be-temporary <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>The amount of money Illinois owes to companies and organizations that have provided goods and services for the state is at its lowest level since 2010, but that improvement could be short-lived.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">At one point, Illinois had a stack of overdue bills totaling about $10 billion.</span></p><p>It took so long for the state to pay back its vendors that some were forced to close their doors - they couldn't pay their bills.</p> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 01:12:48 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29285 at http://wuis.org Bill Backlog Improvement Could Be Temporary Deadline For Quinn To Take Budget Action http://wuis.org/post/deadline-quinn-take-budget-action <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>It's the last day of the fiscal year for the State of Illinois, which means the pressure is on for Gov. Pat Quinn to sign a new budget into law.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">There's nothing on the governor's public schedule for today, but that doesn't mean he won't be busy making official the spending plan passed by his fellow Democrats in the General Assembly.</span></p> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 11:50:03 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 28310 at http://wuis.org Deadline For Quinn To Take Budget Action House Democrats Pass Spending Plan (Barely) http://wuis.org/post/house-democrats-pass-spending-plan-barely <p>How much you'll pay in state taxes next year remains an open question, even as the Illinois House Thursday approved dozens of spending bills, that rely on a permanently higher tax rate. It sets the stage for a budget battle, just weeks before legislators are set to adjourn for the summer.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Illinois House convened at 8 o’clock Thursday morning, and spent most of a very long day on the budget. Lawmakers began with a debate on funding Illinois' public education system, giving schools a slight increase over this year.</span></p> Fri, 16 May 2014 10:56:00 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 25235 at http://wuis.org House Democrats Pass Spending Plan (Barely) House Budget Plan Could Help Save SIU Student Paper http://wuis.org/post/house-budget-plan-could-help-save-siu-student-paper <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Southern Illinois University Carbondale's financially-struggling student newspaper would get an infusion of cash under newly introduced legislation.</p><p>A spending measure filed in the Illinois House would give The Daily Eqyptian 70-thousand dollars.</p><p>The paper had asked for a nine-dollar-per-semester student fee, but the SIU Board of Trustees has not given approval.</p><p>The Daily Egyptian's faculty adviser, Eric Fidler says he's still hopeful that will happen this summer. But he says the 70 thousand dollars would be a buffer.</p> Wed, 14 May 2014 01:30:00 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 25062 at http://wuis.org House Budget Plan Could Help Save SIU Student Paper Quinn, Rauner On The Business Of The State Budget http://wuis.org/post/quinn-rauner-business-state-budget <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>The two men dueling to be Illinois' next governor tried Thursday to win over business leaders with their plans for the state's finances. They both made appearances before a joint meeting of Illinois' retailers and manufacturers in Springfield.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Quinn got a standing ovation as he took the stage, but the response after that was lukewarm.</span></p> Wed, 07 May 2014 22:47:59 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 24645 at http://wuis.org Quinn, Rauner On The Business Of The State Budget S&P: Next Two Months 'Critical' For Illinois Finances http://wuis.org/post/sp-next-two-months-critical-illinois-finances <p>A major credit rating agency says the next two months will be "critical" for the future of Illinois' finances. The key question is whether to make a temporary tax hike permanent.</p><p>Like most of the big credit rating agencies, Standard &amp; Poor's has been bearish on Illinois finances — lowering the state's credit rating four times in recent years.</p> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 21:37:01 +0000 Brian Mackey 22672 at http://wuis.org S&P: Next Two Months 'Critical' For Illinois Finances House Sets Spending Cap — Down $1b From Last Year http://wuis.org/post/house-sets-spending-cap-down-1b-last-year <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Illinois House took a key first step in the state budgeting process Tuesday.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It adopted what's called a "revenue estimate" — how much money Illinois is expected to be able to spend in the next fiscal year.</span></p> Tue, 25 Feb 2014 22:07:20 +0000 Brian Mackey 19702 at http://wuis.org House Sets Spending Cap — Down $1b From Last Year Cullerton Prods GOP Over 'Secret Plan' On Budget http://wuis.org/post/cullerton-prods-gop-over-secret-plan-budget <p>The top Democrat in the Illinois Senate on Monday went on the offensive over state spending. Senate President John Cullerton is calling out the Republicans running for governor.</p><p>Cullerton laid out the hits expected in next year's budget, including the roll back of the income tax hike and mandatory spending increases on things like personnel and healthcare for the poor. Add it up, Cullerton says, and it's a nearly $3 billion hole.</p> Mon, 17 Feb 2014 23:21:16 +0000 Brian Mackey 19170 at http://wuis.org Cullerton Prods GOP Over 'Secret Plan' On Budget Cullerton Taunts GOP Over Budget Delay http://wuis.org/post/cullerton-taunts-gop-over-budget-delay <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The campaign for governor seeped into a debate in the Illinois Senate Wednesday. It let senators get into a little partisan elbowing.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Legislators were in town for just two days of session this week, and they only passed one bill. It lets </span>Gov<span style="line-height: 1.5;">. Pat Quinn delay his budget address from mid-February to the end of March. The administration says it needs the delay to continue crunching numbers.</span></p> Wed, 05 Feb 2014 22:58:30 +0000 Brian Mackey 18386 at http://wuis.org Cullerton Taunts GOP Over Budget Delay Don't Bank On Pension Savings Just Yet http://wuis.org/post/dont-bank-pension-savings-just-yet <p></p><p>With the new year comes the annual process of crafting a new state budget.&nbsp; Money will be tight, despite a pension law that's supposed to save $160 billion dollars over the next 30 years.</p><p>Legislators who voted to cut state employees' and teachers' retirement benefits say they had no choice. Nearly a fifth of the state budget was going into Illinois' pension systems. Meaning there was less money to spend elsewhere. The pension law is supposed to ease that so-called "squeeze."</p> Tue, 07 Jan 2014 13:20:00 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 16429 at http://wuis.org Don't Bank On Pension Savings Just Yet Report: Deficit Expected Even If Tax Hike Stays http://wuis.org/post/report-deficit-expected-even-if-tax-hike-stays <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Even if Illinois keeps its higher income tax rate, a new report projects the state is headed toward deficit spending.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Illinois residents are paying a 5-percent tax on their income. It's been that way since 2011.</span></p><p>According to a new report from the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs, that tax money helped balance Illinois' budget this year.</p><p>But economist David Merriman, who directed the project, says that won't last.</p> Tue, 29 Oct 2013 21:30:37 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 11953 at http://wuis.org Report: Deficit Expected Even If Tax Hike Stays Two Years In, 'Budgeting For Results' Still Ramping Up http://wuis.org/post/two-years-budgeting-results-still-ramping <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">An Illinois government panel trying to help the state set spending priorities is already at work on next year's budget. But after two years, the group is still waiting for the chance to make its mark on spending.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The idea behind Budgeting for Results is to focus state spending on agencies and programs that meet a list of seven priorities, like education or public </span>safety<span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p> Wed, 14 Aug 2013 11:00:00 +0000 Brian Mackey 7249 at http://wuis.org Two Years In, 'Budgeting For Results' Still Ramping Up