Lawmakers and the governor are now back to square one on the state budget, just five days before a potential state government shutdown. Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed all but the education portion of the budget sent to him by the General Assembly, saying it was $4 billion out of whack. But the governor also offered to compromise on big ticket items that Mayor Rahm Emanuel, County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and Senate President John Cullerton have been calling for. Can a deal be saved?
Read the statement from the Rauner administration:
Governor Bruce Rauner today vetoed 19 budget bills that combine to create a deficit of nearly $4 billion.
A copy of the governor’s veto message is below.
Bill Numbers: HB 4146, HB 4147, HB 4148, HB 4151, HB 4153, HB 4154, HB 4158, HB 4159, HB 4160, HB 4165, SB 2029, SB 2030, SB 2031, SB 2032, SB 2033, SB 2034, SB 2035, SB 2036, SB 2037
Today I veto House Bill 4146 from the 99th General Assembly in order to protect Illinois taxpayers from an unbalanced and therefore unconstitutional budget.
The Speaker of the House and President of the Senate have admitted that the General Assembly’s budget is unbalanced. The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget concurs, calculating that this budget is nearly $4 billion out of balance.
For too long, the State of Illinois has made spending promises that exceed available revenues, relied on accounting gimmicks to make budgets appear balanced, used borrowing and cost deferral strategies to push costs into the future, and delayed payments to vendors.
This has generated significant backlogs of unpaid bills and a crushing debt burden of well over $100 billion. Because of past fiscal mismanagement, Illinois is experiencing the worst fiscal crisis in America, highlighted by Illinois being assigned the worst credit rating of any state.
The State of Illinois will be forced to pay more than $6 billion in debt payments in Fiscal Year 2016 due to years of fiscal neglect and overspending. A balanced budget is the only way to responsibly protect taxpayers and put the State on a path to once again using its resources for important public services rather than interest and debt service.
A balanced budget is not just good practice, it is a constitutional requirement: “Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year.” ILL. CONST. art. VIII, sec. 2(b). Although the General Assembly has chosen to disregard its constitutional obligation, as Governor I cannot approve a budget that violates this fundamental principle.
We must be partners in enacting a balanced budget that meets critical public needs within the resources available. The surest way to do that is by enacting structural reforms inside government and economic reforms that stimulate our economy and bring new jobs to Illinois.
Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of Article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return House Bill 4146, entitled “AN ACT making appropriations”, with the foregoing objections, vetoed in its entirety.
Cullerton’s spokesperson Rikeesha Phelon issued the following statement:
“It appears that the Governor would rather move the state toward a shutdown rather than reasonable compromises that protect the middle class with a balanced approach to budgeting. The Senate President will take some time to discuss all options and next steps with his caucus."
House Speaker Michael Madigan’s office issued the following statement:
"It is good the House set the wheels in motion on Wednesday for a Committee of the Whole hearing on agency preparations for the government shutdown.
It seems the Governor missed an opportunity to avoid disrupting the lives of many, many middle class families for the sake of non-budget issues.
These non-budget issues that have been thoroughly debated. Some were adopted by the House. Others were rejected when there was no persuasive case made," said House Speaker Michael Madigan.
Read Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s statement:
“We’re pleased that, for the first time, an Illinois governor has committed the State to addressing the pension inequity at Chicago Public Schools. Unfortunately, the Governor’s proposal would actually further reduce CPS funding by taking away block grant funding, costing the system hundreds of millions of dollars. CPS wants and deserves pension parity with districts like Barrington, Winnetka, and Hinsdale. If Chicago schools were like these wealthy suburban schools, they would be able to spend $1,600 more per pupil in the classroom – classrooms that serve some of the most poverty-stricken children in our state. This is not fair to our children, and we look forward to working with the Governor to end this shameful inequity.”