Archive for June 2011

Will Governor Pat Quinn Sign Illinois Budget on Thursday?

June 28, 2011

(Springfield, IL) — Gov. Pat Quinn may sign the 2012 state budget Thursday, but the spending plan is not a one-and-done deal.

“The budget is an on-going process,” said Quinn. “We have to work on it 365 days of the fiscal year.”

Quinn, who introduced a nearly $36 billion budget, said he is not happy with the $33.4 billion spending plan that Illinois lawmakers sent him, and he wants more spending in education and human services.

But while Quinn can shift around money in the budget, he cannot order more spending, said state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago.

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As Federal Medicaid Aid Ebbs, Illinois Aims to Pay $1.8 Billion in Bills by June 30

June 23, 2011

(Springfield, IL) — Illinois lawmakers on Wednesday approved a plan to delay a $365 million payment into Illinois’ rainy day fund, and instead use that money to pay some of the billions of dollars Illinois owes to Medicaid providers.

Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said the state is racing to maximize a federal Medicaid match that expires at the end of the month. Illinois is getting 57 cents on the dollar for qualifying Medicaid bills that it pays this month. Starting in July, that rate falls back to the normal 50 cents on the dollar.

Maximizing the $365 million, Topinka said, should allow her to pay $1.85 billion in Medicaid bills by June 30. She estimates Illinois could receive an extra $90 million to $100 million from the federal government.

“The Medicaid match did not solve all of our problems, but is sure as heck helped,” said Topinka. “And come the 30th of June, we lose that help, and we’ll be out there on our own.”

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Lawmakers Adjourn for Summer, Fail to Agree on Extra $400 Million for Illinois Human Services

June 1, 2011

Child Care Association of Illinois President Margaret Berglind

(Springfield, IL) — The Illinois General Assembly concluded its spring session and adjourned for the summer late last night, but the Illinois House refused to concur with the additional spending recommendations for next year’s Illinois budget made over the weekend by the Illinois Senate.

“Those budget add-ons would have meant more than $400 million in additional appropriations for Human Services agencies,” said Child Care Association of Illinois President Margaret Berglind.

Instead, the House appointed a Conference Committee to work on the bill, but the Senate, however, declined to do so before adjourning.

During concluding remarks, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) noted that the Senate could be called back into session before the regular veto session in October.

“The House version of the budget is now the final appropriated budget,” said Berglind.

The total budget of $33.2 billion that the legislature sent to Governor Pat Quinn is about $2 billion less that the Governor’s proposed budget. Although total spending is a bit higher than last year’s levels in most areas, the cost of the state pension payments will be covered within this budget and not funded separately as in some previous years.

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Quinn Witholds Judgment on Illinois Budget Approved by Lawmakers which Spends $2 Billion than Governor’s Plan

June 1, 2011

(Springfield, IL) — June 1, 2011. The new Illinois budget may spend less than Gov. Pat Quinn’s original proposal, but it is higher than this past year’s budget and was balanced by delaying the payment of billions of dollars in unpaid bills until this current fiscal year.

“The governor has been clear … that while we put our fiscal house in order, we must continue to protect core priorities,” said Kelly Kraft, Quinn’s budget spokeswoman.

Quinn is “reviewing” the budget’s impact on Illinois human services and schools statewide, Kraft said, which were among those items lawmakers trimmed to reduce spending from Quinn’s $36 billion to $33.2 billion.

House Democratic budget architect Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley, said the new spending priorities include Illinois’ $4 billion pension payment.

The budget “for the first time doesn’t hide the true costs of state government by taking the pensions off budget,” said Mautino. “We’re making all of our pension payments, which for the past three years we’ve had to borrow” to fund.

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