· Fiscal Year 2016 nears its end without a budget. FY16 will reach its end on June 30th, when the State of Illinois will possibly go an entire fiscal year without a budget. Subsection 2b of Article VIII of the Constitution of Illinois requires the General Assembly to annually enact a balanced budget.
However, as FY16 began a year ago on July 1, 2015, no balanced budget had been enacted. An impasse began, with worsening consequences for entities depending on the State for day-to-day funding. In addition, the lack of a constitutional balanced budget worsened Illinois’ standing among its neighbor states. By June 2016, Illinois was poised to become the first U.S. state since the Great Depression years of the 1930s to try to operate for more than one year without any budget at all. As one consequence of this somber milestone, Illinois’ credit rating had dropped by June to the lowest rank of any of the 50 states.
Budget – School Aid
· State education funding to end June 30th; Republicans offer full funding bill. Year-round learning programs, known as “summer school” to many older Illinois residents, are put at special risk by the pending shutoff of State school aid funds on July 1, 2016. While many areas of State spending are not protected by court orders, consent decrees, and continuing appropriations and have already been cut off by the inability of the majority party in the Illinois General Assembly to enact a balanced budget, the State did pass a spending bill in FY16 just for schools. Illinois elementary and secondary schools, with the help of General State Aid and other school aid programs, operated on schedule during the 2015-16 school year. However, the school aid payments authorized by this FY16 bill will end on June 30 with the end of the fiscal year.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and his colleagues are fighting for action on HB 6583 to provide full funding for Illinois schools for the 2016-2017 school year. HB 6583 would allow every Illinois school district to be fully funded at 100 percent of the foundation level for the first time in seven years. Additionally, the bill holds harmless those school districts that would lose state funding in 2017 due to rising property values along with a decline in poverty. But most importantly, it removes K-12 schoolchildren from the crossfire of the larger budget impasse.
Governor Rauner has said he will sign the clean education funding bill and HB 6583 has the full support of House and Senate Republicans, who are urging Speaker Madigan and Senate President Cullerton to pass the bill next week.