We are not hearing anything about a budget agreement for the remainder of the
current fiscal year. We are certainly concerned about across the board cuts of 2,25%
and suspension of grants for developmental disability services such as respite care,
While there are no proposals on the table, it is in our best interest to continue to tell
our legislators that no cuts to disability services are acceptable.
Are you joining us next Wednesday for our Day at the Capitol?
By Doug Finke
State Capitol Bureau
Posted Mar. 18, 2015 at 3:55 PM
Updated at 8:10 PM
Gov. Bruce Rauner said Wednesday that he again believes lawmakers are getting
close to a plan to fix holes in the current state budget, but he sidestepped questions
about whether that could include cuts to education.
Speaking after addressing a meeting sponsored by the Illinois Chamber of
Commerce in Springfield, Rauner said he hopes that “in the coming few days we’re
actually going to have a bill introduced.”
“I don’t want to get out in front of the General Assembly and the (legislative) leaders
about what will be in or out of that particular reallocation of budget money,” Rauner
Rauner has asked for extensive emergency budget powers to reallocate money
within the budget for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. He said he would
take money from “unnecessary” spending and use it for more pressing needs, such
as covering the shortfall in the state-subsidized day care program.
Senate Democrats balked at giving Rauner broad powers to restructure the budget
unless he provided details of exactly what he wanted to cut. Democrats were
unnerved by the level of cuts to human services programs that Rauner proposed in
his budget for next year.
A more recent proposal pushed by House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago,
calls for taking hundreds of millions of dollars from restricted state funds and using
the money to help prop up the current budget. Along with that, state spending would
be cut by 2.25 percent across the board, including for schools.
Senate Democrats met privately Tuesday to discuss the plan, and several were
reluctant to vote for any plan that cuts into education.
“There have been various proposals made to fix the (current) budget crisis,” Rauner
said. “We’ve been working with both parties in the General Assembly. We’ve had
various ideas on the table. We’ve been very close to a resolution for about five
Rauner, who campaigned on increasing education funding even in the face of other
budget cuts, would not say if he supports a plan that would cut education. However,
he said he will support a plan that’s “based on recent discussions I’ve been having.”
He would not elaborate.
The effects of the budget shortfall are beginning to mount. Day care advocates said
last week that five day care providers have closed in the state because bills are not
being paid promptly due to the lack of state funds. There have also been reports of
court reporters having their hours reduced or being laid off in various parts of the
state because state money to pay them is running out.
Payroll money at some state prisons will also dry up in a couple of weeks.
Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said it’s time for the leaders to hash it
out face to face.
“At this state, Cullerton is encouraging the governor to meet with all four legislative
leaders to discuss what version of the plan can pass both chambers,” said
Rikeesha Phelon, a spokeswoman for the Senate president.