After months of negotiations, the General Assembly advanced a massive Medicaid reform package this week. State Senator Christine Johnson (R-Shabbona) said the biggest win for the citizens of Illinois was the passing of Senate Bill 3397 – the Section 25 Reform that will tear up the Governor’s Medicaid “credit card” by changing the state law that has allowed administrations to buy Medicaid services in one fiscal year, but not pay for those services until the next fiscal year.
The program, which provides health care to 2.7 million Illinois residents in need, will end this current fiscal year (though June 30) with $1.9 billion in unpaid bills, according to Governor Quinn’s Office.
“The Illinois Medicaid system is literally on the brink of collapse. Without this fundamental restructuring of the program, the Civic Federation estimated we could have $21 billion in unpaid Medicaid bills by 2017,” said Sen. Johnson.
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After months of dismal news for Illinois, including a downgraded credit rating and report naming Illinois the most corrupt state in the nation, during his budget address on February 22, Governor Pat Quinn announced he will be increasing spending and expanding programs in FY13.
“I was hoping the Governor would take off the rose-colored glasses and accept that Illinois’ economy is dying and offer us specific actions and spending cuts he is pursuing to revive it,” said Sen. Christine Johnson (R-Shabbona).
“Instead, we got a proposed budget that increases spending and expands programs with, par for this administration’s course, little explanation on where the money will come from.”
Although the Governor’s Office had been telling reporters and legislators he was going to reduce spending back to the 2008 level, the budget outlined Feb. 22 actually spends $3.4 billion more than 2008.
The Governor’s numbers show the administration will increase total spending not just from 2008, but from last year as well. The budget presented would spend $550 more than in FY2012 – creating a path that Sen. Johnson says will make it nearly impossible to phase out of the 2011 67 percent income tax and 45 percent corporate tax hikes in three years as promised.
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January 9, 2012 – SPRINGFIELD – This week, budget projections released by the Quinn Administration offer a grim preview of the state’s fiscal situation, though State Sen. Christine Johnson (R-Shabbona) said Senate Republicans have a plan to jump start the state into a financial comeback.
While Governor Quinn isn’t scheduled to deliver his formal budget address until February 22, on Jan. 3, the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget released preliminary revenue and spending projections for the next three fiscal years.
The dismal results highlight the need to make agreeing on some long-term solutions to finance state government operations a top priority, according to Sen. Johnson.
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“I am satisfied that this long trial against former Governor Rod Blagojevich is over. The court has ruled, justice has been served and this chapter in our state’s history has finally come to a close. As a mother, my heart goes out to the children. As a citizen, this just verdict reassures me that our legal process does work and that no one, no matter how powerful, is above our law in Illinois. As a legislator, I believe it is important now more than ever to take an active and unwavering stance against corruption at all levels. Illinois still has a long way to go in reforming state government so we can prevent this deep-seeded corruption from ever happening again. I will continue to be a part of a new generation of legislators that will push for that reform.”
– Illinois State Senator Christine Johnson, 35th District