Governor Quinn’s actions may not be illegal under current law, but they clearly show he is ignoring lawmakers’ opposition to further borrowing. This is not his money to simply use as he pleases.
Senate Bill 3660 (Emergency Budget Act), which was passed in spring 2010, authorizes the Governor to borrow from any special fund, unless borrowing from a specific fund violates federal law. I did not support Senate Bill 3660.
Thanks to the Governor’s ‘tax-borrow-and-spend’ policies, the state is in a terrible financial mess. This spring, the Legislature refused to give Governor Quinn the authority to borrow more money, but that didn’t stop him. He ignored the will of lawmakers, much like former Governor Rod Blagojevich, and simply raided funds designated by taxpayers for certain charities. What part of “no more borrowing” does he not understand?
GOVERNOR PLAYING GAMES WITH FY 2012 BUDGET
Governor Pat Quinn’s budget “cuts” to education and healthcare, made when he signed the Fiscal Year 2012 budget into law June 30, are nothing more than playing games with numbers.
The bulk of the “cuts” Governor Quinn made to the state budget June 30 will not reduce the state budget, but instead push the state deeper into debt, by further delaying payments on state Medicaid obligations.
The whole process might have been more productive had he been engaged in the budget negotiations throughout the legislative session.
Though the Governor is touting $276 million in cuts to the state’s Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals, the Medicaid reimbursement rate has not been changed, so the Governor’s action will simply extend the payment cycle to providers. The budget plan sent to Governor Quinn had already relied on pushing off payments of almost $1.1 billion Medicaid bills into the next fiscal year, so the Governor’s “cut” will increase that amount to nearly $1.4 billion.
Governor Quinn’s second largest cut was to the state’s transportation reimbursement for schools. The reduction targets both suburban and downstate school districts, which both rely heavily on buses to transport students safely; however, rural school districts would be most impacted by the $89 million reduction, because they have the largest transportation costs. The cut seemingly flies in the face of the Governor’s earlier efforts to encourage school consolidation, which often increases the distance students’ travel to school.
The Governor’s third $11.3 billion cut was made to funding for regional superintendents. The Governor targeted regional superintendents in his original February budget proposal, but that suggestion was rejected by lawmakers. Governor Quinn’s signing statement asserts the compensation is being removed because regional superintendents “can be funded from other state funds,” but he did not specify what funds or how that funding would occur.
This budget still spends too much money and relies too much on such smoke-and-mirrors tricks as further delaying bill payments, raiding tax check-off funds, and relying on provider rate cuts that have not been approved. The state’s budget has inherent systemic imbalances that must be fixed.
In late May, Senate Republicans voted against the budget recently signed by Governor Quinn, arguing that the fiscal proposal once again increases spending over available revenues. While the budget spends less than both the Governor and Senate Democrats had initially wanted, it still allows a far higher spending rate than is fiscally prudent. During the spring session, Senate GOP lawmakers released public budget figures showing that unless at least $5 billion in spending reductions are made in Illinois, the “temporary” tax increase passed by Democrats in January will never expire.
Despite a massive income tax increase earlier this year, our state still faces a fiscal crisis. We must reduce spending to bring it more in line with revenues.