Budget talks remain fairly stalled with the Governor and the Legislative Leaders not even
meeting. See story below on Senate President Cullerton.
Speaker Madigan considers cuts to human services see story below.
Yesterday I heard that the legislative working group on the budget had 38 people show up
including staff! Try to craft a state budget with 38 people.
21 session days remain until the end of the legislative session on May 31st.
House considers Rauner’s proposed cuts to human services
By The Associated Press
Posted May. 6, 2015 at 12:15 PM
The Illinois House is considering legislation that would implement Gov. Bruce Rauner’s
proposed cuts to human services next year.
Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan presented the proposal Wednesday even
though members of his caucus largely oppose the budget plan that would balance the
state budget entirely by slashing spending. Medicaid would be cut by $1.5 billion. Mental
health and addiction treatment programs would also see cuts.
Madigan says the vote is intended to “facilitate consideration” of the next year’s budget.
Rauner has left the door open to new revenue sources but the Republican governor also
wants lawmakers to approve pro-business priorities.
House Human Services Appropriations Chair Greg Harris says Rauner’s proposal
attempts to balance the budget “on the backs of the most vulnerable.”
Cullerton: Time to start focusing on the budget
By Doug Finke, State Capitol Bureau
Senate President John Cullerton said Monday it’s time for Gov. Bruce Rauner to focus on
budget talks and spend less time promoting his “turnaround agenda.”
Speaking to The State Journal-Register editorial board, Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat,
repeated his belief that the spending plan the Republican governor submitted to
lawmakers is wildly out of balance and could result in significant cuts to education and
human services unless he opens a discussion for bringing in additional state revenue.
“While it’s interesting he goes around the state and wants to talk about these interesting
issues that we’ve been debating here for years and decades, he is the governor. He has
to get back to the budget,” Cullerton said.
Those issues are part of Rauner’s turnaround agenda that he’s indicated he wants
lawmakers to enact before a budget is in place. They include items like workers
compensation reforms, changes to civil liability lawsuits, right-to-work zones, a property
tax freeze, changes to unemployment insurance and ethics reforms.
Rauner has created working groups of lawmakers who are meeting behind closed doors
on those issues. Rauner has insisted that if his turnaround agenda is approved, it will
free up resources that can then be used to bolster the budget.
“The governor is committed to reforming the broken structure of state government so
taxpayers get value for their money,” Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf said Monday.
“Absent reform, the governor is prepared to implement a balanced budget without new
revenue. Major reforms are essential or whatever balanced budget we craft this year will
be undone by special interests and insider deals. The structural reforms outlined in the
Turnaround Agenda are absolutely necessary.”
Cullerton said he’s willing to talk about components of Rauner’s agenda, but discussions
need to start focusing on the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
“It seems ever since the governor proposed his budget, there was an assumption he
actually had a budget that was balanced,” Cullerton said. “That’s not even close. There’s
his take-it-or-leave it turnaround agenda, which has nothing to do with the state budget.
Let’s refocus on the budget.”
Cullerton said Rauner’s spending plan is out of balance by more than $5.7 billion. That’s
based on the fact that it relies on lawmakers approving changes to state laws that may
not happen, on successfully negotiating contract concessions with public worker unions,
and that some proposals won’t run afoul of previously rendered court decisions.
The Rauner administration has previously said it never made a secret of the fact that
some of its budget proposals required changes to state law or had to be negotiated with
The governor is counting on saving $2.2 billion by changing state worker pensions,
something Cullerton said will be challenged in court assuming it is approved by the
“I don’t know what their (budget) starting point is,” Cullerton said. “If they’re assuming
Bruce Rauner is saving $2.2 billion in pensions, I would say that’s not a starting point. It’s
kind of hard to have a discussion when you don’t know how much money you have.”
Rauner’s budget plan also calls for cutting the share of state income tax money that is
provided to local governments.
“I haven’t seen a lot of support for that,” Cullerton said. “These mayors have done a
pretty good job of uniting and coming down here (in opposition).”
The Senate president said he is open to discussion of raising additional state revenue,
but did not provide specifics. However, he said that if the legislature had voted last year
to continue the income tax hike instead of allowing it to partially expire, “we would not
have this (budget) hole.”
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423