2016 Year in Review for Institute for Illinois’ Fiscal Sustainability Blog Posts

December 28, 2016

The following are the five most read blog posts presented by the Institute for Illinois’ Fiscal Sustainability in 2016. These posts discuss issues ranging from penalties on Illinois’ overdue bills to the ongoing state budget impasse.

Penalties on Overdue Bills Add Up for State of Illinois
February 17, 2016

This post highlights the interest penalties that the State of Illinois pays due to its delayed bill backlog. According to data from the Illinois Comptroller’s office, late payments have cost the State $1.0 billion in interest penalties since FY2006. As noted in the post, the State first has to pay its underlying bills before the interest penalties can be calculated and paid, which means the amount of the interest penalties depends on the timing of bill payments.

Update: As detailed in a subsequent IIFS blog post, the State of Illinois’ bill backlog could reach $13.5 billion at the end of the current fiscal year according to five-year projections from Governor Rauner’s office.

Break in Illinois’ Budget Impasse Allows for Partial Spending Plan
July 1, 2016

This blog discusses the State of Illinois’ FY2017 stopgap spending plan that authorized a full year of funding for preschool through high school education, additional assistance for Chicago Public Schools and a partial spending plan for other government services. The stopgap legislation was passed and signed into law on the last day of FY2016 in order to keep funds flowing in FY2017, which began on July 1, 2016. Although the stopgap budget authorizes funding for many struggling areas of State government, it is far from a complete budget. Most of the stopgap appropriations, except for elementary and secondary education, expire on December 31, 2016.  

State of Illinois Diversions of Transportation Funds
October 7, 2016

This post examines the transportation funds the State of Illinois has diverted for other uses and discusses an amendment to the Illinois Constitution that would prevent the State and its local governments from further diverting those types of funds. The proposed amendment won nearly unanimous approval from the Illinois General Assembly in the spring of 2016 and was then put on the 2016 November ballot. However, the post notes that limiting access to transportation-related revenues could put additional strain on the State’s general operating resources.

Update: The Civic Federation and other Illinois social service and civic organizations opposed the proposed constitutional amendment. On November 8, 2016, Illinois voters approved the amendment.

Proposed Illinois Budget for FY2017 Has $3.5 Billion Gap
March 3, 2016

This post discusses Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s recommended State of Illinois FY2017 budget that was effectively out of balance by $3.5 billion. The recommended budget has general operating revenues of $32.8 billion and expenditures of $36.3 billion and did not address the continuing budget impasse. According to the budget document, a line worth $3.5 billion labeled “Working Together or Executive Management” represented two proposed options for closing the shortfall.

Update: In May of 2016, the Civic Federation released an analysis of the Governor’s recommended FY2017 budget, noting that the Federation was unable to support the spending plan because it presented an insufficiently detailed plan for closing the $3.5 billion budget gap.

Illinois to Seek Federal Funding for Behavioral Healthcare Overhaul
August 19, 2016

This post highlights the State of Illinois’ plan to apply for federal Medicaid funding to reform the State’s behavioral health system. As mentioned in the post, increased federal support could help mitigate the State’s FY2017 spending shortfall. However, it generally takes many months to negotiate a final agreement with federal officials.

Update: The State of Illinois posted a draft Section 1115 waiver application on August 26, 2016 and held public hearings on the waiver in Springfield on September 8 and in Chicago on September 9 of 2016.