Tag Archives: budget

SJR: With Supermajorities Comes Super Responsibilities

With supermajorities in the state House and Senate, Illinois Democrats now have super responsibilities, says Springfield’s State Journal-Register. They may have won the exclusive right to make some of the toughest decisions in state history — like reforming the pension system and figuring out how to pay $8 billion in unpaid bills on a $33 billion budget. And Dems alone may live with the consequences. “(I)f the GOP decides to sit out, the Democrats have earned the right and responsibility to make those decisions on their own, and whatever happens now will be on them.”

 

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Congrats, Dems… Now What Are You Going to Do About This Mess

Illinois Democrats in the General Assembly won big Tuesday, and now have the votes to override any veto by Gov. Pat Quinn. The Chicago Tribune congratulates the Dems. Their prize, says the Tribune, is ownership of a financial disaster largely of their own making which they must now fix – probably without much help from across the aisle.
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With IL Budgets Alreayd Slashed, So Happens When Tax Hike Expires?

Think things are tight now in the state budget, which this year saw slashed $300 million from education so the state could pay down bills and make the required payment to its pension systems? Imagine what it will be like when the current tax hike expires and the state must make do with a reduction of around $7 billion in tax revenue. Or should we say “if” the tax increase expires as scheduled?

Wall Street Journal Dissects Illinois’ “Double Helix” Situation

The Wall Street Journal editorial page sure knows how to turn a phrase. On the cause of Illinois’ wretched financial situation, the WSJ blames “the double helix of government unions and Democratic politicians.” It may not be quite that simple, but who can’t appreciate a phrase that catchy?

 

Reboot Illinois’ Pension Amendment Guide

Been wondering about how to cut through all the noise and debate over the pension amendment? Here’s Reboot’s handy infographic on the ballot question…

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Illinois Cut 3% from K-12 Budget in FY13

Due to pension debt, Illinois cut 3 percent from its K-12 education budget in fiscal 2013. Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, reported in the State Budget Crisis Task Force Illinois Report

Reboot Illinois Fact of the Day k-12 education budget cuts Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, reported in the State Budget Crisis Task Force Illinois Report

Get Used to Hearing About the State Budget Crisis Task Force Illinois Report

You’ll be hearing a lot about the State Budget Crisis Task Force Illinois Report – unveiled at a press conference in Chicago on Wednesday – in the days, weeks, months and (we suspect) years to come. Chicago Magazine notes that there are “a few quiet, genteel hints in the theses nailed to the state’s door.”  Like maybe considering making services subject to sales tax, re-examining the income tax system and reducing the state’s 7,000 government bodies.

Prison and Youth Corrections Facilities Closing in Southern Illinois.

The Southern Illinoisan of Carbondale is upset with the closings of a prison and youth corrections facility in southern Illinois. A court decision suspending the youth facility closure led to the absurd situation of workers having to staff an empty building this week. “What’s really needed and still possible is a decision by Quinn to suspend the closing plans through the state’s current fiscal year,” the paper says. Again, we reiterate, making cuts to the state budget will not be easy.

Does “Unlucky Article XIII” on November Ballot Cheat Voters?

Post by John Kindt*

The Constitutional Amendment to Article XIII on the November ballot is cleverly drafted to concentrate more monetary power in the same Springfield legislative leaders who have de facto bankrupted the Illinois Treasury. With $83 billion in projected liabilities, Illinois has the nation’s largest state budget crisis.

This “Unlucky Article XIII Amendment” is crafted to strip local governments and voters of current decision-making prerogatives and transfer those decisions to Springfield. As such, it is lose-lose for the entire political spectrum of Illinois voters.
Among other subterfuges, the Article XIII Amendment overrules and destroys the Illinois Constitutional protection against eliminating or reducing earned benefits, such as pensions for state retirees who by state law cannot receive Social Security and, in many instances, cannot receive Medicare and Medicaid.

Furthermore, thousands of elderly retirees and current state employees were mandated by Illinois law to pay into Illinois retirement systems and then legally prohibited from having Social Security.

This Illinois Article XIII Amendment contains more words than the entire first 10 Amendments to the U.S. Constitution—the Bill of Rights. The obvious intent of the verbose Illinois Article XIII Amendment is to hide its true impacts from voters in a 700-word avalanche of unnecessary and deceptive words.

Marketing experts know that few voters will read beyond the benign first sentences and that voters will be inclined to vote “yes” in that benign spirit. While the voters may wish to vote to concentrate more monetary power in Springfield leadership, they should not be tricked into misdirecting their votes and eliminating their current Constitutional safeguards by the confusing 700 words in the Article XIII Amendment.
For example, hidden in the “last sentence” is the new Constitutional provision: “(d) Nothing in this Section shall prevent the passage or adoption of any law, ordinance, resolution, rule, policy or practice that further restricts the ability to provide a “benefit increase”, “emolument increase”, or “beneficial determination” as those terms are used under this Section.”

Thus, this new Article XIII Amendment overrules the current Constitutional safeguard known as the “non-impairment provision” in Article XIII, sec. 5, of the Illinois Constitution.

As confirmed by expert memoranda, for example, the State Universities Annuitants Association memoranda (at www.suaa.org, June 8, 2012), the new Article XIII Amendment was drafted outside normal processes—including the Springfield Legislative Reference Bureau.
Among other problems for local taxpayers, the language overriding the “non-impairment provision” was added at virtually the last minute as the “last sentence” hidden at the end of 700 words.

The legislative voting process obviously misled numerous Springfield legislators who voted to place the Article XIII Amendment on the November ballot—when the Amendment’s language had not been properly vetted.

The Article XIII Amendment has also been disguised with various monikers including “HCA49” and “HJRCA49,” and it was originally floated by Speaker Michael Madigan’s office as “Amendment 5.”

On the ballot certified in September by the State Board of Elections, none of these issues are even mentioned in the summary, the “Explanation of Amendment.” Instead there is an emphasized caveat in bold letters which arguably encourages voters to vote “yes” by beginning with the warning: “Note: The Failure To Vote This Ballot ….”’

In contrast with the certified ballot’s bold print emphasis instructing the vote on the Article XIII Amendment, voters will have to play “hide-and-seek” to find and decipher the 700 words of the Article XIII Amendment—before they go to the polls. The entire 700 words are not even printed on the ballot.

After the November election, the public outrage will begin when all public employee organizations (such as teachers), budget reformers, good-government civic groups, and even misled Springfield legislators finally realize that Illinois voters were deceived into voting “yes” for the Article XIII Amendment.

By voting “yes” for the “Unlucky Article XIII Amendment,” the voters will have destroyed their current Illinois Constitutional protections and concentrated huge new budgetary powers in the same Springfield leadership which has caused the Illinois budgetary crisis.

*With 3 earned graduate degrees in law, John Kindt has often testified as an academic before Congress/state legislatures regarding business and legal policy issues.

 

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“Cut the Budget, but don’t Cut THAT!”

As candidates how they’ll fix the state budget and you’ll hear this: Cut, cut, cut. Ask voters how the state should fix its budget: Cut, cut, cut. So what happens when something gets cut? “Whoa! Don’t cut that!”

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