This week we returned to Springfield and today passed a package of bills representing a compromise with the Governor and Republicans on a stop-gap budget for fiscal year ’16 and the first six months of fiscal year ’17. Most significantly there are no turn-around agenda items included in these bills and State operations will continue. Here is a summary of what is included:
Increases General State Aid by $361 million
Equity Grant to assist high poverty schools
$75 million increase to early childhood education
Full year of funding for fiscal year ’17
$1 billion in funding for universities, community colleges, MAP Grants, adult education, career & technical education, Illinois Math & Science academy operations
Covers FY ’16 & first half of FY ’17
Developed by members of the budget working group
Includes $667 million in funds from the Commitment to Human Services Fund for programs not currently operating under court order
Covers 65% of full funding for the 18 month period
Includes programs that were suspended, such as immigration services, autism programs, Teen Reach & other youth programs.
Funded from the Budget Stabilization Fund ($275 million), General Revenue Funds ( $448 million) and Commitment to Human Services Fund ($31 million) for operational expenses. These amounts will pay for expenses such as utilities, FOID, medical care, gas, etc.
The bills include appropriations for IDOT projects, EPA projects and other development projects that have had to shut down mid-construction
Other State Funds
Includes items such as federal funds for the Area Agencies on Aging, LUST fund reimbursements, emergency response appropriations and other similar programs
These items are funded using existing funds only. We remain far short of what is needed for full operations and we will need to address our revenue short-fall before the end of the first six months of this fiscal year. Agencies that have gone without payments or contracts while providing services should expect to begin receiving payments under this plan.
Other items addressed today:
SB2822 – Chicago Pension Parity – This bill will establish a one year (FY ’17) requirement that the State make a contribution of $205 million to the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund, creating parity with downstate and suburban teacher pension funds.
SB 318 – mChicago Property Tax Increase for Teachers Pension Fund – This bill would re-establish an annual property tax levy for the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund. This levy would be capped at a rate of 0.383%, which is estimated to generate $250 million. The proceeds of the tax would be paid directly to the pension fund. The additional tax rate would not be subject to the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (the tax cap).
While today’s actions represent real progress, my wish would have been for us to have passed a full budget with sufficient revenues to operate for a full year. I will continue to advocate for a truly responsible solution to restore stability and fiscal health to the State.