The Collaboration for Early Childhood strives to keep those who are interested in issues affecting families at the state policy level up-to-date. The following is taken from the Responsible Budget Coalition‘s Weekly Update for February 8, 2017.

CTBA: “Cuts Only” Budget Proposal Reinforces Need for Revenue

Illinois Policy Institute, a Koch Brothers and Rauner funded free-market advocacy group, released an outline of what a balanced state budget would look like without additional tax revenue. The proposal included cutting K-12 education by 1/6th, halving higher education, ending health insurance for 600,000 Illinoisans and delaying billions in pension payments resulting in sharply higher costs in the near and long term. RBC member Center for Tax and Budget Accountability released a response detailing the profound and untenable effects this would have on Illinois families and the economy and concluded that this “cuts only” budget proposal serves to reinforce the need to raise new, adequate revenue.

Read CTBA’s response in their budget blog

In the News:

The State of Illinois is on Fire

In the second installment of the State of the Standoff series, by The Southern and its sister papers, the deterioration of Illinois’ fiscal health is examined as the backlog of unpaid bills, late fees, and interest payments continue to skyrocket. While almost 90 percent of our state’s bills are being paid through court orders, consent decrees and appropriations, late fees on delayed payments are worsening the state’s problems leading to one of the highest years for interest payments. While fiscal year 2016 accumulated $16 million in interest paid on late payments, the state has already racked up $55 million in late payment interest in FY 2017.

Read coverage in The Bloomington-Pantagraph

Governor’s School Funding Reform Commission Calls for Increased State Investment

The Rauner appointed bipartisan Illinois School Funding Reform Commission released a report last week calling for $3.5 billion more in school funding over the next ten years to provide adequate funding and reduce inequity in public schools across the state.  The report also said that an additional $2.5 billion may be required if the State is to assume a larger share of school funding approaching the 51% of education costs many believe should be the state’s goal. Illinois is currently 50th nationally in state support for public education. The commission’s report points to the need to raise revenue to adequately fund our education system.

Watch Ralph Martire, executive director of RBC member the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, discuss the tax increases needed to generate the recommended revenue on WTTW

Read coverage in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the State Journal-Register

Illinois’ Credit Rating Nearing Junk Status

Fitch Ratings lowered Illinois’ credit rating last week for the sixth time since Governor Rauner took office in January 2015, citing the “unprecedented failure” of the state to enact complete budgets for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. Fitch added that even if current efforts to end the budget impasse are successful, the failure to act to date has “fundamentally weakened the state’s financial profile.” Illinois’ rating is now just two notches above junk level.

Read coverage in Reuters, Crain’s Chicago Business, and Capitol Fax

Lawmakers Draft Plans to Keep State Employees Paid

Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a motion to lift the court order requiring that state employees be paid even though no funds have been appropriated for that purpose. Democratic and Republican lawmakers are proposing legislation that would continue payments to state employees even if the Attorney General’s motion is granted. The Democrats’ legislation would provide a stopgap appropriation to continue paying state employees. The Republicans’ legislation goes a step further, taking state employee pay out of the annual appropriations process permanently by making it a “continuing appropriation.”

Read coverage in Politico and the Chicago Sun-Times

Social Service Agencies Struggling to Stay Afloat

As Illinois’ budget crisis continues, social services agencies across the state are struggling to maintain operations. Domestic violence service agencies were not funded in the stop gap spending plan, services for seniors are being cut, families are facing homelessness without sufficient homeless prevention funds and the resiliency of long-standing, well-respected organizations is deteriorating as their lines of credit dry up.

Read coverage in the Chicago Tribune, and KMOV

 

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, February 14

Stranded by the State, a web series about the Illinois budget impasse by Kartemquin Films and In These Times will air on public television stations across Illinois throughout the month of February. See below for the full listing of air dates and times.

Chicago (WTTW-TV)
Thursday, February 23 from 9-10PM

Chicago (WYCC-TV)
Thursday, February 16 at 7:30PM (Part 1)
Thursday, February 23 at 7:30PM (Part 2)

 

Resources

RBC’s messaging guide “How to Talk About A Responsible Budget.”

RBC member Voices for Illinois Children’s list of revenue options “Avoid Cuts, Choose Revenue.”

Email chelseadiaz@povertylaw.org for more information.






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