Governor orders massive cuts in wake of Democrats’ deficit budget
From Illinois Business Journal news services
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rauner’s administration ordered a series of “management steps” Tuesday to reel in $400 million in expenditures in the wake of Democrats’ refusal to go along with severe cuts he had tried to push through during the recent budget session.
Rauner’s office issued this statement late today:
“House Speaker Mike Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and their caucuses passed a budget for the 2016 fiscal year beginning July 1 that is nearly $4 billion in the hole. This latest broken Madigan-Cullerton budget comes on the heels of a Fiscal Year 2015 Madigan-Cullerton budget that was more than $1.5 billion out-of-balance when it was passed.
“With the upcoming Madigan-Cullerton budget deficit more than double that of last year, a mid-year solution is not a possibility this time. The Administration must immediately begin taking steps to manage state spending.
“While the Administration is committed to managing the Madigan-Cullerton budget responsibly, because their budget includes no reforms, the options available to the Administration are limited,” the statement said.
“Speaker Madigan, President Cullerton and the politicians they control refuse to act responsibly and reform state government,” Rauner Spokesman Lance Trover said. “It is time they come to the table with Governor Rauner to turnaround Illinois.”
Rauner said he has “worked diligently” to eliminate the inherited $1.5 billion budget deficit without raising taxes, and the state is now projected to end the current fiscal year with a balanced budget. However, much tougher decisions are in the offing to deal with the nearly $4 billion imbalance in the coning year.
The administration today began a series of steps to begin balancing what Rauner has called “the phony” Madigan-Cullerton budget.
“Many additional steps will be announced as they are finalized,” the statement said. These are the specifics outlined:
Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
· Immediate suspension of all future incentive offers to companies for business attraction and retention.
o This includes EDGE Tax Credits, Large Business Attraction Grants, Employer Training Investment Program Incentive Grants and Prime Sites Grants.
· Will defer application approvals for film tax credits and High Impact Business designations.
· All commitments previously made in any of these programs will be honored.
· Prepare and provide notice for the July 1 suspension of the State Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (SLIHEAP).
· The federal portion of the program, funded at about $170 million, will continue.
Department of Transportation
· In light of the state’s current fiscal crisis and a lack of sufficient capital resources, the Illiana Expressway will not move forward at this time. As a result, the Illinois Department of Transportation will remove the project from its current multi-year plan. It is the determination of IDOT that the project costs exceed currently available resources. The Department will begin the process of suspending all existing project contracts and procurements.
· Beginning July 1, the Department will “ground” all state plane passenger service. Planes will be maintained and available for emergency services.
Department of Juvenile Justice
· Begin the process of identifying one or two juvenile correctional facilities for closure.
· Juvenile system has a surplus of capacity
o Capacity at approximately 1,200 beds, with less than 700 occupied.
Department of Corrections
· Begin the process of closing the Hardin County Work Camp
o Approximately 180 inmates will be moved
· Approximately 60 Work Camp staff affected
Department of Healthcare and Family Services
· Implement an audit review of nursing home reimbursements to ensure payments comply with recently implemented new rate structure.
· Recover overpayments to nursing homes and implement financial penalties for improper billings.
Illinois State Police
· Immediately freeze all vehicle purchases.
Department on Aging
· File emergency rules to enact means testing to Aging’s Community Care Program. No income limit currently exists.
· Increase the Determination of Need (DON) Score required to obtain services through Aging’s Community Care Program
Department of Human Services
· DHS will pursue cost control strategies through emergency rules to the Childcare Program:
o Increase copays for parents using the program; and
o Freeze intake and create waiting lists.
· DHS will also begin background checks for relatives providing child care. Background checks are currently required for child care licensed centers, group homes and non-relatives who provide care.
Department of Natural Resources
· The department will not award Open Space Land Acquisition Development Grants in FY16.
· The department will begin the process to suspend operations and close the five state museums to visitors. The state will continue to maintain and secure the museums to protect the artifacts and exhibits.