State of Illinois Passes $38.5 Billion Budget

State of Illinois Passes $38.5 Billion Budget

Gov. Bruce Rauner today (Monday, June 4, 2018) signed into law a $38.5 billion bipartisan compromise budget. According to the governor’s office, the budget “holds the line on taxes, increases funding for education, curbs spending, and creates a new adoption tax credit that will make it less costly for Illinois parents to adopt children.”

Budget announcement. (CREDIT: state of Illinois)

“For the first time in years, we have an opportunity to manage our way into balance, and we don’t have to dip into the pockets of overtaxed Illinoisans to do it,” Rauner said. “Balance is in reach because we were able to accomplish $445 million of pension reform and the economy is stronger thanks to federal tax reform, and we are benefiting from an unexpected boost in tax receipts.”

“I’m signing this legislation because it is a step in the right direction, but it is not perfect,” he said.

The bulk of the FY19 plan was laid out months ago.

“This balanced budget was a bipartisan compromise that contains no new taxes and includes full year funding with appropriations for those who rely upon us — schools, universities, corrections, seniors, families, children and the underprivileged,” House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said. “I have always said we can achieve great things when we respect the priorities and principles of our counterparts, and with this new framework I look forward to accomplishing more reforms for the state of Illinois.”

“While not a perfect budget, the bipartisan, bicameral process led to a truly balanced budget that can help restore confidence and a foundation for greater fiscal stability,” said Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago).

“This year’s balanced budget is the result of bipartisan negotiations,” said Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon). “It’s a realistic and workable plan that supports schools, social services, and critical programs that serve the people of Illinois. However, our work isn’t done. We still need to push for real reforms that will improve our economic outlook and provide more opportunities and jobs for families across Illinois.”

The General Assembly adopted many key agenda items. According to the Governor’s Office news release, the budget:

  • Staves off $1 billion in spending increases by managing agency budgets and tabling $500 million in spending increase proposals.
  • Fully funds the new evidence-based formula the administration introduced in 2015 and signed into law last summer.
    • There’s $350 million in new K-12 dollars, which is up $1.4 billion since 2015, and $50 million for Early Childhood Education, which is up $200 million since 2015.
    • AIM HIGH scholarships get $50 million to encourage Illinois high grads to attend Illinois universities.
    • The MAP grant program is funded for four years. Colleges get $25 million of new money and the tuition tax credit program stays intact.
  • Addresses pension costs by making some modest reforms that will reduce long-term liabilities and save $445 million this year.
  • Creates tax credits to encourage more adoptions by Illinois parents. Parents who can provide stable, loving homes for needy children can qualify for tax credits up to $5,000 per child.
  • Gives the University of Illinois System $500 million to fund the governor’s economic development program. U of I System estimates that the effort could spark $4 billion in annual invested capital for Illinois and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
  • Provides $53 million in FY19 to start the plan to construct a new veteran’s home in Quincy.

“This budget cuts more than a billion dollars in spending while investing in critical components of Illinois future, like: K-12 and higher education,” said Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet). “While more work remains to put Illinois on a path to true fiscal health, a balanced budget with no more tax hikes is a good start.”

“I am glad we were able to work across the aisle to pass a bipartisan, balanced budget again this year,” said budgeteer Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago).  “I’m even more glad that our human services agencies, colleges, universities, cities, towns and school districts can provide quality services to Illinoisans without interruption.”

While hailing the advances, Rauner struck several cautionary notes. He said that the budget would require aggressive bipartisan management to achieve balance.

A a press conference announcing the budget, legislators from both sides of the aisle expressed their support for the bipartisan, bicameral effort.

“For too long, Illinois has been plagued with tax increases and out-of-balance budgets, which is why in the 15 years that I have served in the Illinois Senate I have never been able to support a budget until now,” said Sen. Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry). “This is by far the most responsible budget we’ve seen in quite some time. It’s amazing what can be accomplished with compromise and cooperation. However, it’s going to take a lot of hard work moving forward to ensure this budget stays balanced.”

Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) remarked, “Today’s agreement is proof that both sides of the aisle can come together to compromise in the spirit of democracy on behalf of the people when we lay aside ego, theatrics, and ideology. A budget is a moral document, and this budget shares the sacrifices that will get us closer to fiscal responsibility, while ensuring that we care for the most vulnerable in Illinois.”

SOURCE: state of Illinois news release