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

(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.

State Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, said lawmakers are spending as much as Illinois is expected to take in from taxpayers.

“This is a revenue-driven budget … versus a program-driven budget, which we’ve had in the past where we created programs and then tried to find money,” Trotter said.

State Rep. David Harris, R-Arlington Heights, said that if Illinois brings in more than $33.2 billion in tax revenue, that extra money will pay for past-due bills.

Though no one is willing to speculate on how much extra money Illinois could see, Senate GOP budget architect Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, said the state will not see anywhere near the $7 billion from this year’s 67-percent personal income tax and 4-percent corporate income tax hike that is propping up the proposed budget. The tax hikes were approved in January and are designed to expire in 2016.

This is “the first step (toward) cementing that tax increase into being permanent, just a few months after the Democrats who passed it promised everyone it’d be temporary,” said Murphy.

Benjamin Yount, Illinois Statehouse News

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