Despite Senate raving about $38.5 billion bipartisan budget for FY2019, the numbers don't add up
The $38.5 billion budget passed without a revenue estimate is not what it seems.
While lawmakers are touting a balanced bipartisan budget, the Illinois Policy Institute purports quite the opposite.
“Based on previous state revenue estimated, the fiscal year 2019 budget passed by the Senate is out of balance by between $635 million and $1.5 billion, and includes no structural reforms to the key cost drivers of state spending,” according to the Illinois Policy Institute.
Before even reading through the 1,245-page budget during the Senate debate on May 30, senators were applauding the annual fiscal record before the needed bill, HB109, was pushed through at 56-2. Beginning his comments with a quote, Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) said: “compromise is the art of cutting the cake and passing it out, so everyone thinks the got the largest piece.”
“I want to start with thanking some of my fellow cake cutters,” Righter said pointing out Sens. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet), Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry), Andy Manar (R-Bunker Hill), Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and Elgie Sims Jr. (D-Chicago).
Though Righter said he did not want to walk through the numbers, the Illinois Policy Institute did, reporting while the “Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, or COGFA, projects that the state will have $37.865 billion to spend this year. The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, or GOMB, predicts the state will have about $99 million more than that.”
While Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) bragged of a balanced and compromised budget, which he urged all Senate members to vote "yes" on to show taxpayers both parties have come together, the budget included money from the state income tax hike that some of the very same lawmakers who approved the budget claimed they wanted to repeal.
Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) did not bring up the tax hike in her comments, rather she applauded both parties for their work.
“I can say I am standing in support of this bill and this budget,” Rezin said. “It’s a balanced budget with no new taxes.”
Ironically the GOP demand for revenue estimate was not mentioned once in the budget comments, even after Minority Leaders Sen. William Brady (R-Bloomington) and Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) demanded one a month ago.
“By refusing to pass a revenue estimate, the General Assembly has robbed Illinois’ constitutional balanced budget requirement of all meaning and effect,” the Illinois Policy Institute reports.
Contradicting what he expressed not too long ago, Brady said integrity was used to create the product.
“We were earnest and we were honest with each and we developed a trust,” Brady said.
Given the reality and the philosophy of the General Assembly and Gov. Bruce Rauner, the budget is workable, he added.
Reality, however, is in the eyes of the beholder, according to the Illinois Policy Institute.
“Illinois lawmakers should not view doing the bare minimum of their job requirements as a reason for optimism,” the institute reports. “The only way to give taxpayers and investors’ confidence in the future is for the state to rein in the long-term cost of Illinois government and put the state on a path toward paying down its debt, without tax hikes.”
The only two GOP senators that voted "no" were Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) and Sen. Tim Bivins (R-Dixon). Sen. Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) did not vote.