Gov. Rauner outlined budget options to a joint session of legislators in the House of Representatives, during his third annual Budget Address Feb. 15.
For two years, the Governor has asked lawmakers to work with him to fulfill a state constitutional obligation to pass a balanced budget. Yet his efforts have met with resistance and a lack of cooperation, much to the detriment of Illinois citizens. Encouraged by budget talks in the Senate, he is once again is asking lawmakers from both chambers, both parties, and all regions of Illinois to come together and resolve the fiscal impasse.
On Feb. 17, a St. Clair Circuit Judge Robert LeChien ruled against a motion filed by the Attorney General to reverse his July 2015 order that said state workers had to be paid even with no budget in place. Attorney General Madigan has filed a motion Jan. 26 state court seeking to stop state worker pay until legislators and the Governor approve a spending plan.
Budget data show need to resolve impasse
Senate Republicans stand ready to work with the Governor and fellow lawmakers to put aside the divisive rhetoric and make the kind of tough decisions necessary to pass a balanced budget and enact the critical reforms that will provide stability and growth to our state.Recent budget data show the need to quickly resolve the impasse.
• Illinois goes $11 million further into debt each day state government continues to spend without a budget in place.
• It is estimated that under the status quo, with no spending or revenue changes, the Fiscal Year 2017 budget is $5.3 billion out of balance and the state will end FY 2017 with a bill backlog of $13.5 billion.
• The state is projected to run annual budget deficits of $6 to $7 billion over the next five years without changes to the status quo – increasing the backlog of bills to $47 billion by the end of FY 2022.
• The State’s Group Health Insurance program has not received a General Funds appropriation in two years. Providers are owed nearly $4 billion – delaying payments by two years. If the impasse continues through FY 2018, the accrued interest in the program will surpass program liability.
• The Comptroller estimates the state will pay $700 million in interest payments on over-due bills in FY 2017 alone.
• Mandated Categoricals and Early Childhood Education programs have not received payments in FY 2017 due to the backlog of bills.