Arc and Lawmakers Evade Pressure to Buckle on Budget
We now enter the second month without a state budget and disability services are on the
edge of closing. You need to be meeting with your State Rep and Senators.
Tomorrow, Phil and I will talk to Rep Zalewski about the budget impasse and new disability
Today, Arc Board President Terri Devine and I will meet with new Arc Board member Amy
On Wednesday, I meet with super advocate Deb Fornoff!
Interesting story on the budget below from the State Journal Register in Springfield.
Lawmakers evade pressure to buckle on budget
By John O’Connor, The Associated Press
Posted Aug. 2, 2015 at 9:45 PM
Illinois has entered its second month without a state budget, and there’s no indication that
summer’s dog days will present any new opportunities for a breakthrough in the squabbling
between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrats who control the General
Senators nonetheless will have to sweat over a tricky vote when they return to the Capitol on
Tuesday — whether to reject a pay increase for themselves and violate the state Constitution,
as the House already has done.
Both chambers will hold one-day sessions in what’s become a weekly pilgrimage to
Springfield. Lawmakers have approved no yearlong spending plan after they were unable to
gather the votes necessary to override a gubernatorial veto of the one they adopted in May.
And they continue to rail against Rauner’s demands for pro-business structural reforms even
as they appear to be buckling to his pressure to reject the automatic pay raise.
Here are some questions and answers on the status of the impasse:
Q: WHY MEET IF THERE’S NO PROGRESS IN NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE GOVERNOR?
A: House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, characterizes the weekly
appearances as a “continuous session.” If lawmakers didn’t show up periodically, it could be
ammunition for Rauner, who rejects the General Assembly’s desire to raise taxes to fill a
projected $4 billion deficit. Rauner vetoed that spending plan and let the last fiscal year
lapse June 30 without a new plan in place.
The first-year governor doesn’t want to talk about spending shortfalls until he gets legislative
endorsement for his pro-business and anti-corruption initiatives, such as curbing payouts for
worker injuries, limiting politicians’ terms in office and developing a nonpartisan way to draw
political districts. Madigan and Democratic Senate President John Cullerton say those are
tangential issues that should come after the budget.
Rauner also may figure that if he doesn’t get his proposed reforms this year, he faces less
of a chance in 2016, when much of the legislature is up for re-election.
Q: ISN’T THERE PRESSURE TO REACH AN AGREEMENT?
A: Not a lot. Two potential pressure points — the August opening of public schools and the
first fiscal year paychecks for state workers — dissolved when Rauner signed school
spending into law and court orders dictated all 64,500 employees should continue to be paid.
Public universities must open this month, and the return of students could shine a new light
on the fall-off in state aid to colleges. Despite severe cuts in the past decade, they still count
on that money to make up, on average, 20 percent of their budgets, according to state figures.
The standoff’s effect on social service agencies and their clients continues to mount.
Community Action Agencies joined a growing list of state-supported groups that have shut
down or curtailed services on Friday, announcing in a statement the closing of centers
statewide and “forcing agencies to turn away thousands of Illinois’ most vulnerable
The Belleville News-Democrat reported that the Clyde C. Jordan Senior Center in East St.
Louis halted transportation and meals for the elderly Friday.
Those hurt by service cuts — working mothers needing day care or graduate students
seeing teaching assistant jobs dry up — are part of Democrats’ core constituency, said David
Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University-
Carbondale. Growing frustration could force the Democrats “to cry ‘uncle’ for Rauner,” he
Q: PAY RAISE?
A: Until last week, lawmakers said little about an automatic 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment
to their salaries that was approaching. But Rauner criticized them for not voluntarily offering to
sacrifice it, given the state’s problems.
After dismissing the noise about it as a “diversion” for weeks, Madigan led his House majority
in voting to kill it, saying it became necessary after the money was budgeted.
The raises still will go through unless the Senate also votes them down. Cullerton says he
believes it is “blatantly” unconstitutional to reject them, because of court rulings prohibiting
some already-approved salary changes. But he told the Chicago Sun-Times in an interview
that he would call the vote this week and support ending the pay hikes.
Even if someone should object, Cullerton said, “Nobody’s gonna sue.”
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423