Senator Syverson Fights Budget Games
Budget passed without tax increase, yet none of Quinn’s promised savage cuts
Senator Dave Syverson voted no to an incomplete, irresponsible budget that is based on accounting tricks and one time budgetary gimmicks.
“Extreme and radical cuts, cuts that will starve our schools and result in mass teacher layoffs, larger class sizes and higher property taxes,” said Governor Quinn just weeks ago when describing what would happen without extending the tax increase.
Yet the budget passed by both the Illinois House and Senate does not include an extension on the tax hike, and it actually increases general state aid to schools.
“For months the Governor has sent out scare tactics to human service providers, hospitals, and schools, promising that deep painful cuts would happen if lawmakers didn’t break the promise to let the temporary tax hike expire and keep the 67% tax in place,” said Syverson. “Yet today, thanks to pressure from taxpayers, they passed a budget that did not make deep cuts, in fact it irresponsibly increases spending in many areas as well as maintains a number of ‘pork projects’. How can that be? Either they were not being honest when they told people ‘savage cuts’ would be made, or they are not being honest now with the budget numbers. Either way a trust problem exists with this budget.”
The budget that passed both chambers extends the amount of time for paying bills, delays some bills, shortchanges others, and borrows heavily. Health insurance claims for some state employees will continue at over 400 days before payment, with $1.6 billion in unpaid bills (a $200 million increase since the tax increase went in place).
“Even Democrats agree based on their spending in this budget this will create a massive hole in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget,” said Syverson. “It’s about putting off a vote on the tax increase until after the election. Make no mistake, anyone voting for this budget is voting to eventually raise taxes.”
This FY15 budget is based on a revenue estimate of $35.352 billion and total General Revenue Funds spending is approximately $35.4 billion, allowing Democrats to call the budget “balanced.” The revenue estimate has been increased by $857 million over the original projection contained in House Joint Resolution 80.
It relies on $650 million in inter-fund borrowing (fund sweeps), $167 million in natural growth over the original Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability estimate, and another $40 million in hospital assessments.
The budget also includes tens of millions in non-descript “pork projects”. During the budget debate, Democrat leaders couldn’t even describe where exactly the money will go or what it will do for most of these shady “grants.”
“Right now there are multiple criminal investigations into some of the governors pork projects from the last gubernatorial election,” said Syverson. “Shockingly some of those questionable groups are still getting funding in this passed budget.”