Two weeks after giving his initial assessment of the challenges facing Illinois, Gov. Bruce Rauner unveiled a tough, but necessary plan to put the state’s fiscal house in order.
Also during the week, Senate members worked to meet a Feb. 20 deadline for filing their bills.
On Feb. 18, Gov. Rauner outlined his $31.5 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget proposal to a joint session of Illinois lawmakers. His plan:
Eliminates $6.2 billion structural deficit;
- Relies on no tax increases or borrowing;
- Includes $500 million to pay down unpaid bill backlog;
- Increases K-12 education spending by roughly $300 million;
- Increases early childhood education funding by $25 million;
- Provides the most money for education general state aid in Illinois history;
- Focuses on core functions of government and delivers essential services.
Many of Gov. Rauner’s tough budget decisions stem from the cumulative effect of 12 years of tax-and-spend government under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and former Gov. Pat Quinn.
Lawmakers will now review the Governor’s budget, and begin working with the Administration to negotiate the state’s fiscal blueprint for FY 2016, which runs from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016.
In other action, Senate members worked to meet their Feb. 20 deadline for filing legislation. More than 1,800 bills have been filed in the Senate alone.