Illinois’ dysfunction continues with the majority party passing a $40 billion operating budget for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17). This is an unrealistic budget that further places human service providers, vendors and individuals who rely on state services in jeopardy. Illinois is now in its 12th month without a budget and Speaker Madigan has been candid in his jocular comments that he does not foresee an agreement on a budget for Fiscal Years 2016 or 2017 until after the November elections. Therefore, his members will be safe from making any tough decisions or facing unwelcome repercussions from an infuriated electorate.
Due to Speaker Madigan’s refusal to allow fully funded fiscally responsible budgets to be evaluated and discussed by house members, we are back to considering a piecemeal approach to funding government. A piecemeal approach is not a responsible way to fund government, but due to the majority party’s refusal to join the world of reality and budget within our fiscal means, we are forced to support government operations with stop gap funding bills.
To save our state from further peril Republicans introduced a FY16 Bridge (HB6585) and a FY17 Stop Gap Funding proposal (HB6583). The bridge (HB6585) for FY16 will appropriate a total of $25.9 billion in funding for state obligations. The FY17 Stop Gap funding proposal is for 6 months. This bill ensures our schools will open there doors on time for the next school year. Some of the appropriations are highlighted below:
Fully funding the General State Aid Formula for K-12 education;
Universities receive $453.6 million;
$180 million lump sum to Department of Human Services ($115 million), Aging ($40 million) and Public Health ($25 million);
$111.5 million for OSLAD grants, $292 million for school construction; and
IDOT Road Program funding.
It is imperative that Illinois dismantle the partisan politics that have divided us and move forward with bi-partisan compromise to stabilize our government finances and ensure state programs and services continue to operate effectively and efficiently.