Realistic state budget
Despite optimism that a compromise could be reached on a balanced state budget and economy-boosting, job-creating structural reforms, Democrat leaders continued to slow-walk the process, stymying progress and leading the General Assembly to once again leave Springfield in May without an agreement.
Senate Republicans had offered realistic budget alternatives to ensure that K-12 schools open on time this fall and basic government operations remain open. The six-month, fully-funded bridge budget (Senate Bill 3435) would give the Legislature and the Governor time to work on a long-term plan to put Illinois back on the road to financial recovery. That measure is still pending in the Senate.
Senate Bill 3435 would address immediate priorities and keep basic government services operational. Key components include: ensuring federal funds coming to Illinois for social service providers continue without interruption, $600 million for higher education, $180 million for human service providers not covered by court-ordered state payments, $450 million for food service, utilities and medical services at state prisons and mental health facilities, and to pay for essential services at state-run institutions. The measure would also provide funding for public construction projects, such as roads, bridges and emergency repairs at state facilities.
The stop-gap plan also includes funding to take care of the programs, services and old bills left unfunded and unpaid by the lack of a Fiscal Year 2016 budget, and not covered by court orders, consent decrees and the parts of government that receive automatic annual funding.