· 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.