FY16 Budget

·         Legislative leaders meet with Governor Rauner for second round of budget talks.  The second week of budget talks took place behind closed doors in Chicago on Tuesday, December 8.  The meeting yielded some mild optimism and word that more talks — including among the Governor’s and legislative staff — are planned for the near future.

The leaders agreed to meet again next week to further discuss the major outstanding budget and budget-related issues facing Illinois.  The State continues to operate in FY16 (began July 1, 2015) without a constitutional balanced budget. 

·         $3.1 billion “other state funds” appropriation bill signed by Governor.  The enactment of SB 2039 appropriated $3.1 billion in what are called “other state funds” which are funds continue to flow into Illinois from taxes and fees other than sales, income, and other general-revenue taxes.  An example of this cash flow is the hundreds of millions of dollars paid annually by motorists who buy diesel fuel and gasoline for their cars and light trucks in Illinois.  Release of this money has been “frozen” so far this year due to the lack of an approved balanced budget.    

Passage of SB 2039 into law unblocked these program lines and allowed the money to flow.  The move released funds for streets, roads, and highways; 9-1-1 call centers; firefighter training; lottery payouts; and other moneys for local first-responders and local governments.  The bipartisan House vote of 107-1-1 was one of the key moves sending this bill to the Governor for his signature.  Governor Bruce Rauner signed SB 2039 on Monday, December 7.
FY16 Budget

·         Governor Rauner, legislative leaders hold budget summit; December cash flow affects talks.  The summit, which included House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, was held on Tuesday, December 1 at the State Capitol in Springfield.  There was a frank and full exchange of views on issues dividing the four caucuses, including the need for property tax relief, workers’ compensation reform, public-sector labor-management relations, and a reformed system to elect and re-elect State lawmakers. 

As Durkin, Governor Rauner, and other summit leaders met, Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger announced that the State’s revenue picture was improving slightly in December.  Factors affecting State cash flow include the coming of the annual Christmas retail shopping season and larger flows of cash from sales taxes charged on retail goods.  Illinois will be able to make its required December 2015 $560 million contribution to State retirement systems, after delaying the November 2015 pension payment.  However, the Comptroller’s tally of unpaid State bills shows that the State now owes approximately $6.7 billion to providers of goods and services.
By Greg Bishop

House passes measure to free local funds and more A measure to provide money to local governments, winners of the Illinois Lottery and funds for veterans homes across the state, among other things, is a step in the right direction but doesn’t go far enough in solving the budget crisis. That’s according to some supporters of a measure that passed the House Wednesday...

Unemployment Insurance measure passed An agreed upon measure to update unemployment insurance before ramps in costs to employers and decreases in benefits for the unemployed now heads to the governor’s desk. Before passing lawmakers from both sides of the aisle applauded the effort as a sign of true bipartisanship, not just between Republicans and Democrats, but also business and labor...

Republican Representative Keith Wheeler said the bill is a sign of the General Assembly working together to improve the state’s business climate.

“This bill shows we can make progress. We’ve got a lot more we can do but we can do it...”

Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, its time for ‪#‎GivingTuesday‬ and ‪#‎ILGive‬. #ILGive is a statewide, non-partisan movement to support nonprofit communities in Illinois by increasing individual giving. Last year, they raised over $4 million dollars. This year, over 500 organizations, individuals, and foundations from all over the state have joined the movement to provide creative ways for people in Illinois to give. 

For more information and a list of participating Illinois nonprofits, click here.