FY16 Budget

  • Governor Rauner to chair public meeting with legislative leaders on Nov. 18.  The meeting is expected to examine the delayed FY16 budget process.  Although the FY16 fiscal year began on July 1, 2015, a constitutional balanced budget has not been enacted by the Democrat supermajorities in the Illinois House and Senate.  The State has continued to operate under consent decrees, court orders, continuing appropriations, and school appropriations, but this has created many operational problems.  Recipients of State services, and providers of goods and services to the State, have been affected by the lack of a legal budget document. 
Spokespersons for all four legislative leaders, including House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, expressed positive interest in the meeting. The gathering was requested by a consortium of nonpartisan advocacy groups. Sponsors of the request included the Better Government Association, the League of Women Voters, and the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

Teenagers commonly feel as though they are invincible. As parents, we certainly know that is not the case.

In February of this year, a 13 year old student collapsed and died at basketball practice at a nearby Plainfield high school. He died from an undiagnosed cardiac condition. In fact, heart abnormalities claim the lives of between three and four thousand young adults in the United States each year.

Both (Oswego) School District 308 high schools have partnered with an organization called, “Young Hearts for Life” to provide our students the necessary screening to help identify cardiac abnormalities. Young Hearts for Life has screened over 130,000 students in the Chicagoland area.

Voluntary screenings will take place at Oswego East High School on Nov. 19 during the school day. Oswego High School will hold their screening next March.

If you are the parent of a high school student at Oswego East, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity and register your child for this potentially lifesaving screening.

Two things are needed most urgently: volunteers and donations. Each and every person can make a difference, as can each dollar. To register, donate or volunteer, please visit the Community Unit School District website at sd308.org and register under YH4L. If you have any questions, please contact Melanie Eilers at the School District 308 office at 630-636-4633.

State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield)
State Rep. Keith R. Wheeler (R-Oswego)
State Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) and State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) are teaming up with AARP to host a free Medicare Part D Seminar for local senior citizens at 10:00 a.m. Oct. 22 at the City of Batavia building, 100 N. Island Ave. in Batavia.

James R. Thompson Center
·         Governor Rauner asks cash-strapped state to consider selling or leasing Chicago office building.  The governor pointed out that ongoing and deferred maintenance costs of the James R. Thompson Center, Illinois’ principal downtown Chicago office structure, make it a highly expensive place to house State workers; deferred maintenance costs could soon require State taxpayers to invest up to $100 million in the aging building to allow it to continue to operate. 

Under an alternate path, which Rauner this week urged the State to follow, Illinois will offer the building’s real estate site up for sale.  The developer who buys the site could rehabilitate the structure, or could tear down the structure and construct a modern office building in its place.  HB 4313, introduced by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin on Wednesday, October 14, would implement this proposed property sale.

Experts in downtown real estate responded to Rauner’s announcement by calling the office complex’s LaSalle Street site an underused resource.  The structure, which opened for State use in 1985, has been allowed to run down over its three decades of activity.  Meanwhile, adjacent Loop sites are thriving as locations for high-end office, hospitality, retail and residential use.  Reorientation of the building’s “footprint” toward 21st-century architectural use could increase local property tax revenues by adding the land parcel to Chicago assessment rolls.  Advocates noted that construction of a new building on the site would also create highly paid construction jobs.
FY16 Budget
·         Legislature’s budget commission reports continued shortfall in State revenues.  A report for September 2015, compiled by the nonpartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), shows that Illinois general funds receipts fell $382 million short of comparable figures for September 2015.  This change reflects reductions in personal and corporate income tax rates that took effect on January 1, 2015, and is one of the pieces of background that lie behind the current State of Illinois budget crisis.  Released on Thursday, October 1, the report can be found on page 6 of CGFA’s “September 2015 Monthly Briefing.”

The September numbers, which reflect ongoing receipts paid by taxpayers into the state Department of Revenue and other State agencies that take in general funds, follow up on similar numbers reported in July 2015 and August 2015.  CGFA’s three-month summary spreadsheet, also published in their September report, shows an accumulated cash flow shortfall of $1,137 million for the quarter-long period.  It is expected, furthermore, that a comparable shortfall will be posted during the fourth and final quarter of calendar year 2015.

Despite the ongoing fiscal shortfall, the Democrat majority in the Illinois General Assembly continues to insist that the State must operate a public sector that is almost exactly as large, and spends almost as much money from day to day, as it did in fiscal year 2015 before the changes in tax rates took effect.  Court decisions, continuing appropriations and consent decrees have kept the money flowing for a wide variety of budget line items.  The constitutional requirement  that Illinois enact and implement a balanced budget has been ignored. 
State Representative Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) and State Senator Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) are teaming up with AARP to host a free Medicare Part D Seminar for local seniors at 10:00am on Thursday, October 22 in Batavia. Please see the flyer for full details.