News Print Friendly and PDF

Budget compromise remains elusive as new fiscal year begins

A new fiscal year began on July 1 without a state budget in place, a situation Illinois has been in before. On July 1, 1991, the state faced a similar budget stalemate that came to an end only when legislative leaders and then-Governor Jim Edgar worked together to reach a compromise.

Senate Democrats approve unbalanced one-month budget

While the Governor and legislative Republicans have remained open and willing to work toward a permanent solution on the budget, this week Senate Democrats approved a temporary, one-month budget that the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget cautioned is out of balance.

Gov says no pay-raises for legislators with amendatory veto

Gov. Rauner said “no” to cost-of-living pay increases for legislators this week, issuing an amendatory veto on Senate Bill 1354.

Line-item veto eliminates certain projects in capital improvement legislation

The majority of a capital plan that will invest in Illinois’ public infrastructure was approved this week by Gov. Rauner; however, he also used his line-item veto authority to remove several projects contained in the proposal.

Rain continues to plague farmers

Heavy rains continue to drench fields and pastures across Illinois, putting farmers further behind as they attempt to harvest wheat and hay. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Illinois farmers only had an average of 1.1 days rated as suitable for field work last week, though many fields were still too wet for work during the limited sunshine.

Governor vetoes budget bills

On June 25, Gov. Rauner vetoed 19 budget bills that combine to create a deficit of nearly $4 billion “… in order to protect Illinois taxpayers from an unbalanced and therefore unconstitutional budget.”

Governor Rauner signs education funding

Democrat leaders finally began sending pieces of their unbalanced budget proposal to the Governor. While the entire Democrat budget represents a $3+ billion underfunded spending plan, the education portion actually appropriates less money for schools than the Governor’s proposal. Nonetheless, it represented a slight increase from FY2015 funding, and the Rauner said he signed the measure into law to, “ensure our teachers are paid and our schools are open and funded.”

Senate hears testimony on mandatory sick time and minimum wage

On Tuesday, June 16, the Senate held another “Committee of the Whole” meeting to discuss mandatory sick time and increasing the state minimum wage. Both topics brought employees and members of the business community to talk about their views on the topics. No legislative action was expected or taken on either subject.

House rejects pension payment delay for Chicago schools

Lawmakers in the Illinois House failed to pass legislation to create a 40 day delay before the Chicago Public School District’s $634 million pension payment is due.

DCEO privatization bill passes the Illinois House

The Illinois House passed a measure to create a new, private Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The idea was initially proposed by Rauner, inspired by successful private programs in several other states.

Heavy rains continue to hamper farmers

Statewide rainfall averaged 3.61 inches, 2.5 inches more than normal, leaving just 0.8 days rated as suitable for fieldwork according to United States Department of Agriculture. Continued precipitation has kept the fields wet as well, with topsoil moisture rated as 56% surplus and subsoil moisture as 43% surplus.

Budget showdown enters third week

Though tens of thousands of people rallied behind the Chicago Blackhawks after their Stanley Cup championship win on June 15, Illinois’ 13 million citizens are probably not going to be throwing a championship-style parade for the two majority legislative leaders any time soon. The state’s fiscal year comes to an end in less than two weeks and lawmakers and the Governor are not any closer to a final solution to the Fiscal Year 2016 budget.

Committee of the Whole on higher education affordability

This week the Senate met for another “rare” Committee of the Whole to discuss higher education affordability.

Well-respected Auditor General to step down

Illinois Auditor General Bill Holland announced his intention to step down as the state’s chief fiscal watchdog on December 31. Auditor General Holland has held the position for 23 years and has been a well-respected staple of Illinois government during the tenure of five Governors.

Illinois farmers continue to battle weather

Rainy weather continues to hamper farmers’ efforts to get back into the fields to finish planting soybeans and harvesting hay. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, statewide precipitation averaged 3.24 inches, leaving only 2.3 days rated as suitable for fieldwork. The average temperature last week was 75.8 degrees, which is 4.6 degrees higher than normal.