Gov. Rauner gave his annual budget address in February, and the Illinois General Assembly has until May 31 to pass a balanced budget with a majority vote—although we’ve seen how well that goes in the past.
The state still has roughly $9 billion in unpaid bills, and Rauner called for several reforms to tackle the problem:
- State-funded entities, such as local school districts, would have to start paying into their own pensions, phased in over four years with 25 percent increments each year.
- Universities would also pay into their own pensions with a similar four-year phase-in.
- Public worker health insurance costs would be reduced by $470 million by trimming the state’s share of premiums to 60 percent and having employees pay the remaining 40 percent.
With these changes, Gov. Rauner says, Illinois could implement a roughly $1 billion tax cut as well as begin rolling back to the 32 percent tax hike put in place in 2017.
NFIB/IL spoke out in favor of the plan: “It’s been too long since Illinois had a balanced budget,” State Director Mark Grant said. “We have a history of not paying our bills and kicking the can down the road. Governor Rauner’s plan would change that. It would bring spending under control and compel Illinois to live within its means. … We can’t afford to keep spending money we don’t have. Our members are calling on their legislators to do their constitutional duty and start with a revenue estimate. We want the General Assembly to stop playing politics and produce a balanced budget in a truly bipartisan manner.”
As usual, however, reaching consensus on the budget plan is likely to be a tall order, with many legislators staunchly opposed to Rauner’s proposals.