Illinois Republican leaders Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) and Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) filed legislation on Tuesday that would provide a full year of funding for elementary and secondary education, road construction projects and federal programs. It would also provide six months of funding for critical operations for higher education, state-operated facilities (such as prisons and veterans’ homes), public safety, health and welfare.
In total, the funding package introduced totals $50.3 billion for FY17 and another $25 billion to close out FY16. The plan is contained in two identical bills in each chamber, one which contains K-12 education funding (SB 3439, HB 6590) and the other which contains funding for other agencies (SB 3438, HB 6591).
Senate Bill 3439/HB6590 would ensure Illinois schools have funding to open this fall, with an increase of more than $240 million over this year’s enacted education budget, for a total of $7.2 billion in general funds.
“The measure we filed today would fully fund the foundation level for the first time in years, as well as include a ‘hold harmless’ to ensure that all school districts get at least as much as they received in this past school year,” said Radogno. “What this plan does not contain is a bailout for Chicago Public Schools, as Democrat legislators have proposed. Their plan is not acceptable or affordable to the taxpayers of Illinois – particularly in our downstate and suburban communities.”
The Republican leaders’ state agency funding proposal reflects budget items negotiated in the bipartisan, bicameral legislator working groups, in cooperation with the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget.
Higher education funding totals $1 billion, which is on top of the $600 million already approved in Fiscal Year 2016. This measure, if approved, would: ensure that universities are able to open on time and complete a full fall semester; allocate $151 million in funding for MAP grants for the spring semester of 2016; and provide community colleges with $114 million, plus funding for adult career tech and other grants.
Leader Durkin notes that under SB 3438 and HB 6591, funding for critical state government operations would total $729 million, and would help cover critical needs at state agencies, including: utilities, food and medical services at state prisons, mental health centers and veteran’s homes.
“Time is running out with less than three days until the start of a new fiscal year. The citizens of Illinois deserve a balanced negotiated budget that cares for students, the most vulnerable and all Illinoisans. The language in these bills can be amended to active bills in both chambers to meet our Thursday deadline. Those who claim this cannot be completed by then are just plain wrong,” Durkin said.
Under Senate Bill 3438 and HB 6591, $650 million will help cover critical human services not being paid under consent decrees or court orders. This includes $35 million in additional human services grants. This funding level means that human services will get over 90% of the amount they typically would get over 18 months when including spending authorized by court orders.
Full-year appropriations of non-GRF/other state funds of $33.2 billion, and capital appropriations of $17.0 billion, will ensure that: road and bridge improvements can continue; payment of school construction grants and local water and sewer improvements are met; local government distributions are made and funding is allocated for low-income heating assistance and other services.
“We are at a critical point in this budget impasse,” said Radogno. “The time for political posturing has passed -- the time to act is now.”
Both the Illinois Senate and House are scheduled to be in session on Wednesday, June 29.