Budget Hearings Continue
Last week a series of appropriations committee hearings were held in Champaign, Springfield and Edwardsville. These often lengthy hearings centered around current and proposed fiscal adjustments that intend to put Illinois on a more firm fiscal footing.
After 12 long years of fiscal malpractice by former Governors Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn and Democrat supermajorities in the General Assembly, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are now working to establish spending priorities and balance the state budget. Since taking office in January, Governor Bruce Rauner has worked with both Republican and Democrat lawmakers to tackle the state’s serious financial problems.
While a legislative fix to balance the current state budget and keep government operations running was recently signed into law, passage of that measure was just the beginning of the difficult budget decisions legislators will be required to make in the coming months. On April 14, the Director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget told lawmakers that an additional $100 million in statutory fiscal reductions may be needed.
Republican Senators acknowledged that the magnitude of the state’s fiscal problems make difficult spending reductions necessary. Senate GOP legislators underscored the need to first identify ways to reduce inefficiencies and redundancies in state government, pointing out there are often six, eight, or even a dozen different state agencies or grant programs dealing with the same issue.