Stopgap State Budget ApprovalJune 30, 2016
The Illinois General Assembly approved legislation (Senate Bill 2047) this afternoon funding most of the FY2016 budget, and adopting a "stopgap" six-month budget for FY2017. The governor is expected to sign the legislation. While this legislation has been agreed to by all four legislative leaders and the governor, it is understood that additional budget work must still be done to adopt a full-year 2017 budget, and perhaps even retroactive 2016 appropriations. However, that work will likely be delayed until January 2017.
Under SB 2047, library grant programs through the Illinois Secretary of State's office would be held at already approved funding for 2016, and that same level of partial funding for 2017. ILA must therefore continue to fight for full funding for both the coming year and the year just concluded.
One area fully funded for all of 2017 is K-12 education at approximately $7 billion, a $361 million increase over 2016. All K-12 schools will open without delay this fall, and all districts will receive at least as much as they did last year. Higher education will receive approximately $1 billion in additional appropriations, and college student MAP grants for 2016 would be fully funded; MAP grant funding for 2017 is not included in the stopgap budget. Road and other capital projects would be funded, as would significant human service programs.
Significantly, this budget legislation addresses none of the concerns raised by the governor in his "Turnaround Agenda"—no term limits, no redistricting reform, no changes to workers compensation or collective bargaining rights, no tort reform nor a property tax freeze. In adjourning the House of Representatives, Speaker Madigan forcefully noted that a budget compromise was only possible when the governor was willing to set aside his personal agenda.
This partial budget simply puts off a full fiscal 2017 funding plan until after the November 2016 election. It does nothing to pay down the current $8 billion is past due bills. It does not include pension reform that would decrease the state's pension liability. It does not change current court orders, which require spending in excess of current revenue. This budget deal does represent bipartisan progress, but it is unclear if or when further budget progress might be achieved.