Governor Rauner's FY2019 General Fund Budget Proposal Is a Major Setback For Public Education
Release: February 15, 2018
Governor Bruce Rauner introduced his proposed fiscal year 2019 budget on February 14. But despite promising to help close the shortfall from adequate resources identified by the new Evidence-Based Model for school funding, the governor's budget actually cuts available resources for K-12 classrooms by an inflation-adjusted $547 million. This cut frustrates the core purpose of the Evidence-Based Model, which he signed into law just last year: To increase the resources available to Illinois public schools to the levels that evidence shows they need in order to succeed.
New Details Emerge on Illinois' "Tier 3" Pension Plan
Release: September 27, 2017
Illinois' fiscal year 2018 budget introduced major changes to the state's public pension systems in an attempt to grapple with Illinois' roughly $130 billion in unfunded liabilities. One of the most important aspects of these changes was a new package of benefits. This new package, called "Tier 3," introduced a hybrid defined benefit-defined contribution plan in addition to the defined benefit plans of Tier 1 and Tier 2.
Illinois on Autopilot, the Reality of FY2016
Release: February 16, 2016
In both magnitude and meaning, state elected officials have no greater obligation than passing a General Fund budget into law. Consider magnitude first. Last fiscal year the General Fund budget provided for the expenditure of $35 billion. No question, that constitutes a sizeable expenditure of taxpayer money. It is also meaningful. While nearly $11 billion was targeted for Hard Costs like debt service and other legally mandated payments, over $24 billion was invested in current services across communities statewide. In fact, over 90 percent of FY2015 General Fund expenditures on services covered education (35 percent), healthcare (30 percent), human services (21 percent), and public safety (7 percent). To be clear, it is those services which provide for the basic health and well-being of the citizenry, and go to the very heart of why we elect a Governor and General Assembly in the first place.
By failing to pass a General Fund budget for FY2016, elected officials are basically punting the following difficult, but fundamental, responsibilities to:
- Make decisions about how to allocate scarce resources among the aforesaid four service priorities;
- Identify which of, and by how much, those services will be cut, despite their high priority, if the state’s current woeful fiscal condition is not addressed; or
- Raise the tax revenue needed to fund those core services to the amounts needed to satisfy demographically driven demand.