Tag: Illinois Budget

Area Lawmakers React to Illinois Budget Plan | Sugary Beverage Tax Put on Hold

Springfield

Thursday, July 6, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

The Illinois House voted 71 to 42 on July 6 to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a revenue bill “that will hike the personal income tax rate — while also voting to override two other budget bills,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported on Thursday.

For the first time in two years, Illinois has a full budget in place after after a two-year impasse, “the longest such impasse for any state in modern history,” according to a July 6 New York Times report.

“The decision to approve the budget, which includes an income tax increase expected to generate about $5 billion, came as Illinois was sinking deeper into fiscal misery,” the Times reports.

“The state is $15 billion behind in paying its bills; has delayed or stopped payments that have especially affected the elderly, poor and students; and has been warned that its credit rating could sink to junk status, the lowest for any state.”

In the run-up to, and after, the historic vote, local state lawmakers were vocal in their support of the measure.

After the State Senate voted to override Rauner’s veto earlier this week, state Sen. Kimberly Lightford (4th), (whose district includes Bellwood, Broadview and Maywood, along with other western suburbs and parts of Chicago), said that the plan “would give our neediest populations and decimated institutions a fighting chance.

“Families, our most vulnerable populations and businesses alike need consistency,” Lightford stated. “It is time for Governor Rauner to set aside his political antics once and for all and do what he was elected to do, enact a budget.”

State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th), whose district includes much of Proviso Township, praised the plan.

“The plan cuts state spending by nearly $3 billion, while protecting our seniors, supporting our most vulnerable citizens, revitalizing our violence prevention programs and funding our schools, colleges and universities,” he said.

In a July 6 Facebook post, uploaded as the House debated the governor’s vetoes, state Rep. Kathleen Willis (77th), (whose district includes all or parts of Bellwood, Maywood and Melrose Park), said that although the measure isn’t perfect, “we must do something. As one of my colleagues said last week the state hemoraging. This is a way to stop bleeding out. My view is that you must stop the bleeding before you can repair the damage.”

Sugary beverage tax blocked as budget cuts loom, says Preckwinkle

Soft_drink_shelf_2The cost of sugary beverages sold in Cook County were set to go up one penny per ounce this summer, but a Cook County Circuit Court judge blocked the inevitable from happening.

Now, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is warning that if the judge keeps the tax from taking effect by August, the county would have to cut 10 percent of its budget.

Per the Chicago Tribune, “In a letter dated Monday sent to all county elected officials, bureau chiefs and department heads, Preckwinkle budget director Tanya Anthony said analysts would be providing them ‘a recommended course of action’ to meet spending cuts needed if Cook County Circuit Judge Daniel Kubasiak doesn’t lift a temporary restraining order that’s preventing the penny-per-ounce tax from being levied.

“Kubasiak stopped the tax, which was supposed to go into effect Saturday, after the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and several grocers sued the county to permanently block it on the grounds it is vague and unconstitutional.

“The county was counting on $67.5 million to be collected through Nov. 30 via the tax on pop and other drinks.”

Read the full Chicago Tribune article here. VFP

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State and local lawmakers react to Rauner’s ‘Chopping Block’ Budget

chopping-block12

Sunday, February 22, 2015 || By Michael Romain 

Over the past several days since Gov. Rauner’s Feb. 18 budget address, there has been a tidal wave of reactions from state and local lawmakers–much of them penchant critiques of the governor’s cost-cutting.

The Chicago Sun-Times created a handy list of ten areas on “Rauner’s chopping block.” Virtually all of the cuts will affect residents of Proviso Township:

10 Areas on Rauner’s Chopping Block

Medicaid:

• $1.5 billion reduction to Health and Family Services budget, including elimination of Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation facilities.

Human Services:

• Division of alcohol and substance abuse – $27.5 million reduction

• Division of mental health — $82 million reduction

• Elimination of Best Buddies, Project Autism, Arc of Illinois, Homeless youth services, Immigration Integration Services, Illinois Welcoming centers

• $23 million reduction to Early Intervention Program

Public Health:

• $19 million reduction from 2015

Pensions: 

$100 billion savings over 30 years in payments

$25 billion immediate reduction in unfunded liability.

$2.2 billion in savings from pension payments in this budget.

Higher education:

•$400 million reduction system wide

•More than 30 percent cut to all public universities over 2015.

•Illinois Board of Higher Education general funds cut by 50 percent

•Illinois Board of Higher Ed grants eliminated.

• Illinois Math and Science Academy reduced by nearly 8 percent.

Public safety:

• Ceasefire funding cut from $4.7 million to $1.9 million

• Elimination of funding for bullying prevention, meth pilot program, South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force

DCFS

• Eliminates services for young adults ages 18-21

GROUP INSURANCE:

•$700 million reduction in budget for group health

 LOCAL GOVERNMENT: 

•Reduces from 8 percent to 4 percent the share of income tax provided to local governments. $600 million reduction.

TRANSPORTATION: 

$127 million reduction in RTA subsidy, which could affect the CTA, Metra and Pace.

Here are some responses to the cuts from state and local lawmakers:

State Senator Kimberly Lightford (D-4th)

Sen. Lightford“Not funding education at a 100 percent rate again this year is simply unacceptable. Ninety-nine percent funding would not be enough, so the proposed 95 percent is certainly not adequate. Furthermore, the possibility of slashing the state’s child care program, worker salaries, Medicaid, and other critical services, while instituting sharper tax cuts for CEOs will not move Illinois forward. It will only lend itself to further alienation and degradation of those unlucky enough to be ill, young, elderly or poor.”

“I still hold hope that I can work with this administration to institute a budget relying on justified reform and facilitating job creation.”

State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-7th)

Chris Welch in DC“With Illinois facing an estimated $5.7 billion deficit next fiscal year, our state faces severe fiscal challenges.  However, we cannot realistically cut our way to a balanced budget. Any approach must include spending cuts and additional revenue to avoid devastating the schools, law enforcement agencies and health care programs on which working families rely.”

“I was encouraged to hear the governor call for an increase in early childhood, elementary and secondary education funding, and I look forward to working with him and legislators on both sides of the aisle to ensure that we accomplish that goal.”

First District Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (pictured top) and State Sen. Don Harmon (D-39)

Boykin VFP“Governor Rauner proposes to cut $50.4 million dollars from Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation Facilities. Commonly  referred to as “Smurfs,” these facilities provide needed crisis stabilization services and an opportunity for individuals wrestling with mental illness  to transition back to community-based living with supportive services that reduce the risk of homelessness.

Don HarmonWithout the availability of services in the community, individuals will be forced to rely upon services provided by our township governments, hospitals and jails. Such an influx would place great strain on the budgets of Cook County, and the villages, cities and townships we represent. The resulting burden on our local property taxes would increase to an even greater level.” VFP