This morning, I am meeting with Representative Gabel to discuss community integration
and the developmental disability budget for next year.
Now that the discussions on the Fiscal Year 2016 State Budget are beginning areas of
contention come forth.
Here is a summary of the cuts proposed by the Administration that the 7 legislative
working groups are reviewing for the Fiscal Year 2016 State Budget. This is not pretty by
Pension Reform: $2.2 billion
Cut Medicaid: $1.5 billion
Cut Human Services: $492 million
Eliminate College Insurance Program and Teachers Retirement Insurance Program:
Cut Group Health: $570 million
Cut Funding for Local Governments: $913 million
Total: $5.788 billion
Story from the State Journal Register below.
Democrats highlight potential obstacles in Rauner budget
Kerry Lester, The Associated Press
Posted Apr. 29, 2015
With just weeks left before Illinois’ 2016 budget must be passed, Democratic leaders and
GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner remain far apart on how to bridge a $6 billion revenue gap.
A memo circulated by Senate Democrats late Tuesday questions roughly $5.8 billion in
savings in Rauner’s proposed $32 billion budget. The caucus suggests the proposal may
not only violate a provision of the Illinois constitution, which promises employee benefits
shall not be “diminished or impaired,” but also likely requires changes to state law and
federal policies and requires negotiations with labor unions.
Among the senators’ concerns is that cutting $1.5 billion from the Medicaid health care
program for the poor, which is funded by state and federal dollars, would require federal
Lawmakers began meeting this week to work on the governor’s “Turnaround Agenda,” a
set of pro-business priorities Rauner wants the Legislature to approve in exchange for
consenting to new revenue to save programs near and dear to Democrats. Without that
grand bargain, the governor’s proposed spending plan would balance the budget entirely
by slashing spending for things like Medicaid, human services programs and state
employees’ group health care. The plan also includes a roughly $300 million increase to
K-12 education, which the governor has identified as a top priority.
The Democrats’ memo notes the Medicaid cuts would require a change in state law as
well as federal approval. Cutting roughly $500 million from various human service
programs could violate a federal law requiring states to provide refugee services and
judicial consent decrees, including one governing caseloads and levels of care for wards
of the state at the Department of Children and Family Services, the memo says. The
caucus also notes that a $570 million cut from group health care would have to be
negotiated with labor unions, to which employees belong.
In recent weeks, Democrats also have repeatedly mentioned that the pension reform
proposal – which Rauner says could save the state $2.2 billion – could run into
constitutional challenges. Lawmakers found that out with their 2013 overhaul, which is
facing a lawsuit pending in front of the Illinois Supreme Court.
“There are a lot of pieces in there that are not implementable,” Heather Steans, a
Chicago Democrat and one of two Senate appropriations chairs, said. “It’s not savings
you can really bank on.”
She called the administration’s proposal “not a realistic position” but a
Rauner’s deputy chief of staff Mike Schrimpf said it’s been known for months that the
governor’s budget, introduced in mid-February, is contingent on “statutory changes” to
“The governor is committed to making structural changes to state government,”
Schrimpf said. “The Senate Democrats have known that since February 18, as has
anybody who’s been paying attention.”
Schrimpf did not, however, address the possible complications with federal law or labor
unions that the caucus cited.
Both sides spent months negotiating how to fix to $1.6 billion hole that stems from the
state’s temporary income tax increase expiring in mid-January, which lawmakers didn’t
plan for in the budget passed last spring. Late last month, a bill passed that filled the
gap through a combination of transfers from special funds and across-the-board cuts,
while the Rauner administration suspended roughly $26 million in grant programs.
Senate Democrats have held hearings across Illinois on the effects of the cuts, and
House Speaker Michael Madigan has formed a budget oversight panel charged with
reviewing some of the cuts Rauner made to state grant programs as part of the fiscal
year 2015 fix.’
“That’s a pothole compared to a crater that we’re dealing with for next year” Steans said,
comparing this year’s budget hole with next year’s. “I think we’re just trying to highlight
Lawmakers face a May 31 deadline to pass a budget.
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423