The Illinois General Assembly ended the 4th of July holiday week by declaring independence from the budget crisis created by Governor Rauner.
The Illinois General Assembly closed the 4th of July holiday week by declaring independence from the crisis created by Governor Rauner. A bipartisan group of lawmakers ended the 736-day budget impasse with the passage of a $36 billion spending (Senate Bill 6), revenue (Senate Bill 9), and budget implementation (Senate Bill 42) package. The legislation provides for $1 billion less in spending than the budget proposed by the Governor and implements a tax rate he previously said he could support. Still, he immediately vetoed the measure, reiterating his unrelated political demands for non-budgetary reforms that hurt working families. But with Illinois facing the likelihood of becoming the first state ever to be assigned junk bond status, colleges and universities on the verge of collapse, and a $15 billion (and growing) pile of unpaid state bills, lawmakers made it clear to the Governor that enough is enough. The House initially approved the bills with bipartisan support on July 3, and the Senate followed suit on July 4. Following the Governor’s callous vetoes, the Senate immediately voted to override. Rauner’s angry warnings were not enough to stop the House from doing the same late this afternoon after a security situation forced the Capitol into lockdown mode for nearly two hours. IFT President Dan Montgomery praised lawmakers for their bipartisan efforts and urged continued cooperation.
"After two years of crisis and sitting on the brink of collapse, one thing became very clear this week. If Governor Rauner refuses to do his job and serve this state, a bipartisan group of legislators will do it for him. “We want to thank House and Senate lawmakers from both sides of the aisle who voted to support this balanced budget package. This is what governing looks like. We hope this budget will start to undo the serious harm Bruce Rauner has done to this state, especially our public colleges and universities and all those who have lost services because of Rauner's commitment to crisis. We still have challenges ahead, but I'm hopeful we can work together for our common purpose: the people of Illinois."
The spending and revenue measures will provide much-needed economic relief for schools, colleges and universities, and communities. Here are some key components of each bill: SB 6 - SPENDING
$743 million increase for K-12 education (over FY17). Much of the increase is contingent on passing legislation that implements a new Evidence Based Funding Model (EBM) by July 30 so ISBE can pay school districts on August 10.
Funding to make colleges and universities whole for FY17 (equal to FY15 levels, the last time the state had a complete budget).
FY18 funding for colleges and universities at 90%.
Fully funds FY17 and FY18 MAP grants for low-income students.
Funding for FY18 group health insurance expenses, including funds to pay down the nearly $8 billion owed to providers.
SB 9 - REVENUE
Generates an addition $5 billion annually.
Permanently raises the income tax rate from 3.75 to 4.95 percent (for individuals) and from 5.25 to 7 percent (for corporations).
Closes some corporate tax loopholes.
Provides an additional $250 tax credit for educators who purchase classroom supplies with personal funds.
SB 42 – BUDGET IMPLEMENTATION BILL
Includes funding to start paying down the $15 billion backlog of unpaid bills accumulated during the impasse.
Creates a Tier III pension plan for future members of the state’s five pension systems. Tier III is a hybrid plan with both defined benefit and defined contribution components.
While these measures will have immediate positive impact, discussions continue about mandate relief, a property tax freeze, changes to workers’ compensation, and other harmful “reforms” that the Governor is seeking. The IFT will continue to educate lawmakers about how such reforms would hurt our communities. Stay tuned for updates.