budget

New IGPA Report
7:15 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Budget Gap To Increase Despite Pension Overhaul

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois' pension overhaul is tied up in a court challenge.  But even if it remains law, cuts to state employees' and public school teachers' retirement benefits will not solve the state's budget problem.  That's the forecast from a report issued today by the University of Illinois' Institute for Government and Public Affairs. Amanda Vinicky spoke with the report's principle author, economist Richard Dye.

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District 186
2:09 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Students Lacking Immunizations Out Of School For 3 Weeks & Counting

About five hundred Springfield students were forced out of the public schools last month for failing to have required physicals and immunizations. The number has since dropped to 87 kids missing classes. The deadline was October 15th. School board member Mike Zimmers says the policy should be changed for next year to have the deadline before school gets underway.

"Parents just need to plan, you know when they start thinking about ... we need to get school clothes or school supplies -- in your mindset just think, we need to get physicals, we need to get shots,” said Zimmers.

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Fiscal Focus
4:30 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Report: Deficit Expected Even If Tax Hike Stays

Credit flickr/borman18

  Even if Illinois keeps its higher income tax rate, a new report projects the state is headed toward deficit spending. 

Illinois residents are paying a 5-percent tax on their income. It's been that way since 2011.

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.

But economist David Merriman, who directed the project, says that won't last.

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Statehouse
6:00 am
Wed August 14, 2013

Two Years In, 'Budgeting For Results' Still Ramping Up

Members of the Budgeting for Results Commission at a hearing Tuesday in Springfield.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

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.

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 safety.

But although the Budgeting for Results Commission has been meeting, taking testimony, and publishing reports for about two years, its work has yet to affect the budget.

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Pensions
6:24 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Governor Says Lawmakers Let Down Taxpayers

Gov. Pat Quinn says lawmakers who didn't send him a pension overhaul bill have let down Illinois taxpayers.  
The Chicago Democrat set Tuesday as a deadline for a bipartisan pension panel to report back with a plan. That was even as members of the so-called conference committee formed last month called his deadline arbitrary and irresponsible.  
Quinn says there'll be consequences for lawmakers. He's declined to say exactly what he'd do.  

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Education Budget
4:28 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Despite Level Funding, Quinn Says Pensions Still Squeezing Schools

Gov. Pat Quinn

After years of state budget cuts, Illinois schools will get roughly level funding under legislation signed into law Thursday. But Governor Pat Quinn says it's still not enough.

Earlier this year, Quinn said Illinois' budget problems meant the state had to reduce school spending. But lawmakers decided not to cut the education budget, in part because Illinois collected more taxes in April than it anticipated.

The extra money will go to elementary and high schools, community colleges, and public universities. It also funds MAP grants for needy college students.

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Education Funding
6:30 am
Thu May 30, 2013

On Schools Budget, Republicans Say Not Enough

Another key component of the Illinois state budget moved through the General Assembly on Wednesday. The Democrats' spending plan prevents what could have been steep cuts for schools, but Republicans say students outside Chicago are getting shortchanged.

  Democrats are approving mostly level funding for elementary and high schools in Illinois. That's significant because education spending, like most areas of the state budget, has been cut in recent years. And Gov. Pat Quinn's budget proposal said even deeper cuts would be necessary.

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FY14 Budget
7:31 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Democrats Advance Kinder Budget

The bulk of a new state budget passed out of the Illinois House Tuesday, and now heads to the Senate. It's far less harsh than lawmakers had been predicting at the start of the legislative session. 

 

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FY14 Budget
6:40 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Legislators' Budget Plans Expected To Cut Deeper Than Quinn's

Rep. Greg Harris (D-13), courtesy ILGA.gov
Credit ILGA.gov

Despite years of cuts to the Illinois state budget ... even more are ahead.  Legislators are still deciding where else they can slash spending.

 

"Human services" is a legislative phrase Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) says covers:

HARRIS: "All the state departments  dealing with health care, senior services, children services, so the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Medicaid, human services, mental health, substance abuse, Department of Aging, DCFS, public health and veterans... "

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Tue January 1, 2013

What Do Women, Sportsmen, & Downstaters Have in Common?

Deputy House Majority Leader Lou Lang, a Democrat from Skokie, chairs the Asian-American caucus.
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

The Democrats' new super-majorities promise to enhance the power of individual caucuses.

In the frenzied final hours of the 2005 spring session of the Illinois General Assembly, the push to finalize a new state budget suddenly ground to a halt when a bloc of Democratic lawmakers announced they couldn't support the spending plan.

Without their votes, there was no way the Democratic majority could adopt a budget without Republican input, raising speculation that the session could go into overtime.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Wed February 1, 2012

End and Means: Illinois is Not as Bad Off as it Might Seem

Charles N. Wheeler III
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

As Gov. Pat Quinn readies the FY 2013 state budget he is to unveil in a few weeks, the conventional wisdom seems to be that Illinois is in really bad shape, a financial basket case about ready to go belly up.

The lamentations are led by the usual suspects, Republicans trying to gain partisan advantage for this year's elections and hyperventilating editorial writers who need to stop, take a deep breath and get a grip on reality.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Sat January 1, 2011

State of the State: New Year Signals Time for Budget Action

Jamey Dunn
Credit mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

A new legislative session and Gov. Pat Quinn’s first term as the elected governor of Illinois begin this month. While the legislature passed some historic measures during its veto session, little was done to address the state’s gaping budget deficit and crushing backlog of unpaid bills.

Both the lawmakers and the governor need to make some resolutions for the New Year, stick to them and put some solutions in place. 

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Thu July 1, 2010

Ends and Means: Unbalanced Budgets Come Despite Consitutional Mandate

Charles N. Wheeler III
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

Does the Illinois Constitution mandate that the state budget be balanced each year?

One’s initial inclination is to respond, “Yes, of course, it says so in the Finance Article.” But a quick check of the actual record in the four decades since the charter was ratified suggests the answer is a bit less straightforward.

The question gained new interest a few weeks ago after House Speaker Michael Madigan acknowledged to reporters that the spending plan newly minted by legislative Democrats was not balanced.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Tue June 1, 2010

Ends and Means: Despite Differences Over State Budget, Lawmakers from Both Sides Worked Together

Charles N. Wheeler III
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

The fiscal fiasco otherwise known as state budget-making has a lot of Illinoisans searching for descriptive terms harsh enough to fully express their disdain for state legislators.

Lawmakers left Springfield a few weeks ago without accomplishing the only chore they really needed to do before their self-imposed May 7 adjournment deadline — fashion a spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Sat May 1, 2010

Ends and Means: Illinois' Budget Woes Could Undercut Its Application for Federal Education Dollars

Charles N. Wheeler III
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

Can Illinois finish in the money in Round II of Race to the Top?

The answer could hinge on budget decisions that state lawmakers will make in coming days.

At stake is as much as $400 million to underwrite efforts to improve Illinois schools under Race to the Top, the education centerpiece of the Obama administration.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Thu April 1, 2010

Ends and Means: Leaders Have Responded Abysmally to the State's Fiscal Crisis

Charles N. Wheeler III
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois faces its worst fiscal crisis in eight decades, a daunting challenge for the state’s purported leaders. So how have they responded?

In a word, abysmally. Indeed, the leadership deficit almost rivals the state’s dollar shortfall. Consider:

In his budget memo last month — at 21 minutes, too short and devoid of specifics to merit being called an address — Gov. Pat Quinn essentially punted.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Fri January 1, 2010

All About the Budget: The Upcoming Legislative Session Promises to Have a Central Theme

Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

“Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was.” – Talking Heads, Once in a Lifetime.

When Illinois lawmakers return to the Capitol to embark on their 2010 spring session, they’ll find new laptop computers. It is perhaps the only truly new item competing for their attention in the coming months.

Their legislative agenda is a burgeoning plate of political leftovers chock full of issues put off and punted in recent years, each snowballing the consequences for taxpayers and those who rely on state services or funding.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Fri January 1, 2010

State of the State: State Continues to Plan New Facilities but Has No Money to Operate Them

Kurt Erickson
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

Thomson, a maximum-security prison in northwestern Illinois, has sat virtually empty since it was completed in 2001. The federal government announced plans to buy it in mid-December.

On the day before Veterans Day, Gov. Pat Quinn held an event in Chicago to announce the site for a new state-run nursing home for veterans.

The facility, to be paid for by the long-awaited capital construction program that lawmakers approved last summer, would be the state’s fifth veterans’ home and the first in the Chicago area.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Thu October 1, 2009

Pay Delay: Despite Receiving Extra Federal Funds, Illinois' Budget Banks on Delaying Payments

Pharmacist David Mikus of the Medicine Shoppe in Springfield
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

Todd Evers is in constant conversation with his bank, most recently in August, to prepare for the “inevitable what if.” What if the state stops paying?

He has had to borrow money twice a year for the past decade to keep open his group of pharmacies in Collinsville and the St. Louis area as he waits for a check from the Illinois comptroller that will pay him for services he provided to public aid customers months ago. 

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Thu October 1, 2009

Editor's Note: Illinois Has Company in its Budget Woes

Dana Heupel
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

It’s said that misery loves company. If that’s true, Illinois has plenty of both.

The misery stems from money and programs that lawmakers and Gov. Pat Quinn have extracted from the state budget to try to fight the decay in state revenues caused by the economic recession. The company comes from other states that face the same massive financial problems.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Thu October 1, 2009

State of the State: Even Small Budget Cuts Hit Home in a Big Way

Bethany Jaeger
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

Centers for people with disabilities and many other community-based services have known for months that they were unlikely to receive as much state funding as they have in previous years.

But even a 10 percent to 20 percent reduction in funding can significantly alter their clients’ daily lives.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Tue September 1, 2009

Editor's Note: Lawmakers Need to Profile Some Courage

Dana Heupel
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

When the smoke finally cleared in mid-July after the battle to produce a state budget, it was immediately obvious that the ashes were still smoldering and ready to reignite at any moment.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Tue September 1, 2009

Ends and Means: Illinois' Budget is the Most Out-of-Whack in Recent History

Charles N. Wheeler III
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

As the legislative session gets under way each January amid a blizzard of bill introductions, Statehouse watchers have modest expectations: All lawmakers really have to do is pass a budget.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Fri May 1, 2009

State of the State: The Search for New Revenue Sources will Come to a Head This Month

Bethany Jaeger
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

Democrats and Republicans fully expected to make tough choices this year. As they react to the 17th month of a national recession and a $12.4 billion deficit projected for next year, Illinois lawmakers are on the hot seat now.

Gov. Pat Quinn proposed his own plan that would trim spending and generate new revenues. Some of his money-making ideas are expected to create tough votes for lawmakers before May 31, the day they’re supposed to adjourn the spring legislative session. 

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Wed April 1, 2009

High Expectations: Federal Stimulus Package Could Help, but it Won't Solve Expanding Budget Deficit

Bethany Jaeger
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

Just as Illinois citizens want to know when federal stimulus money will trickle down to help them pay their mortgages or open the door to jobs, state officials want to know when the money will help them avoid drastic cuts to services or painful increases in state taxes.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2009

State of the State: Dire Economic Conditions Should Force State Lawmakers to Budget Every Penny

Bethany Jaeger
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

Gov. Pat Quinn and state legislators will have to be held accountable on spending this year. They can’t afford not to be.

Without help from a federal stimulus package, the state could face up to a $9 billion deficit. Declining revenues merge with overdue bills for an ominous picture. And that’s before the nation’s economic crisis is fully taken into account.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Sun February 1, 2009

Ends and Means: The Governor's Troubles Distract from Illinois' Budget Woes

Charles N. Wheeler III
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

In recent weeks, the Gov. Rod Blagojevich sideshow has attracted an international audience, with its latest twists and turns now regular fare on the BBC’s world news broadcasts.

While becoming an international laughingstock is certainly embarrassing, the unwanted attention also has created an unwelcome distraction from the grave problems facing the state and its citizens.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Sat November 1, 2008

Ends and Means: Illinois , Like States Across the Nation, Faces a Tight Revenue Squeeze

Charles N. Wheeler III
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

A few weeks ago, Congress and the George W. Bush administration cobbled together a $700 billion rescue plan for Wall Street, in hopes of avoiding economic catastrophe for Main Street.

Too bad the plan’s architects didn’t worry about Capitol Avenue and Statehouse Square as well, as state governments from California to Rhode Island struggle with sagging revenue growth that is jeopardizing their ability to provide needed services.

Noted Stateline.org, a nonprofit, nonpartisan online news site last month:

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Tue April 1, 2008

Ends and Means: The Grim Fact is This State is Flat-Out Broke

Charles N. Wheeler III
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

 

As Illinois lawmakers return from spring break for what everyone fervently hopes will be the last two months of the legislative session, one grim fact overshadows all others: The state is flat-out broke. No, even worse, it’s plunged deep in debt, the result of years of living beyond its means.

Consider a smattering of news items that appeared before the General Assembly left Springfield in mid-March:

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Sat September 1, 2007

Ends and Means: The Dysfunctional Ds Set New Standards for Governing Incompetence

Charles N. Wheeler III
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

As the seemingly interminable spring legislative session drags on through the dog days of summer and lawmakers begin circulating petitions for re-election, Democratic lawmakers can't be enthusiastic about the record compiled by their leaders.

Despite controlling all the levers of the lawmaking machinery — the governorship and majorities in both the Senate and the House — the dysfunctional Ds set new standards for governing incompetence.

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