Illinois budget

Illinois lawmakers are debating whether the wealthy should take on a bigger tax burden.

Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan first surged the idea before last year's election, when .01-percenter Bruce Rauner was just a candidate.

By the end of this month, Illinois legislators are slated to be done with their work. That means passing a new budget. Amanda Vinicky checks in with how that's progressing -- including in the eyes of the state's new governor. 

Amanda Vinicky

Amtrak Board of Directors member Tom Carper told Illinois lawmakers service cuts are inevitable should Governor Bruce Rauner's proposed 40% funding cut take effect.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposal to cut the state budget took a spectacular fall Wednesday in the Illinois House.

The new Republican governor's plan reduces Illinois' budget by $6 billion for the next fiscal year.

That means doing away with, or spending less, on everything from healthcare for the poor, autism services and support for older foster kids.

No GOP legislator has actually introduced a bill that would precipitate those cuts. So in a surprise move, the Democratic Speaker of the House, Michael Madigan, took it upon himself.

Bruce Rauner froze several state grants in order to balance the budget for the current fiscal year. Now lawmakers are asking what will happen to the people who relied on those programs even after their deaths. 

One of the grants provided money to cover burial of the poor. Under the program, funeral homes provide the services and bill the state to cover part of the costs.

There's a hold-up over efforts to programs dealing with autism, drug prevention, and more from ending. It seems like advocates should be celebrating.

After Gov. Bruce Rauner says he was forced to earlier this month suddenly pull $26 million worth of state grants, the Illinois Senate used the legislative version of searching under the couch cushions for change.

Twenty-seven people are out of a job at Illinois' Tobacco Quitline, which means there's no one left to answer the phone.

For the past 15 years, Illinois smokers could dial 1-866-QUIT-YES, and a tobacco treatment counselor or nurse would answer. Try calling now, and there's a message saying: "Your call is important to us. Unfortunately, Quitline funding has been suspended due to budget cuts and we will be closed until further notice."

Republican Bruce Rauner has signed a temporary budget fix -- his first law since becoming governor earlier this year. 

Illinois' budget has a $1.6 billion dollar gap --- the result of a spending plan Democrats passed in the spring; some had hoped then for a post-election tax increase that never came to fruition.

Democratic Senator Heather Steans of Chicago says this will fill that gap.

The Illinois House on Tuesday voted to patch a 1.6-billion-dollar hole in the current state budget.

  The budget was supposed to get Illinois through June, but already the state's running out of money for things like court reporters and prison guards. That’s in part because Democrats passed an incomplete budget last year — not wanting to raise taxes or cut spending.

Now Democrats and Republicans — including Gov. Bruce Rauner — say they’ve found a solution. But it continues to mostly avoid that difficult choice.

Rich Egger

The Macomb City Council is sending a letter to the Governor and Legislature asking to receive full funding from the state.

Governor Bruce Rauner has proposed cutting in half local government’s share of the state’s income tax revenue.

State lawmakers approved a budget that relies on a higher income tax rate.

But Governor Bruce Rauner won the office on a platform of lower taxes.

Now - Illinois faces an immediate $1.6 billion dollar budget hole.

Rauner says lawmakers are talking about sweeping funds from some programs into more “essential” ones.

"But they’re arguing among themselves what’s non-essential."

Rauner has said for weeks that he’s close to resolving the issue with legislative leaders.

The Budget Address from Bruce Rauner

Feb 18, 2015
Brian Mackey

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner delivered a half-hour budget address to state lawmakers Wednesday.

County Fairs Hit Hard By Illinois Budget Cuts

Feb 15, 2015
Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs

The possibility of budget cuts makes the future of agricultural fairs in Illinois unknown.

Rauner: Voters were Misled on Sorry State Finances

Dec 2, 2014
Brian Mackey

Illinois Governor-elect Bruce Rauner told reporters the state's finances are in terrible shape.

Wall Street's view of Illinois' financial health has taken a hit, thanks largely to the state budget that took effect at the start of this month. Pensions also continue to be a drag. 

When Illinois Democrats passed the state's latest budget, many seemed to hold their nose. Credit ratings agencies are more direct: Standard & Poors has revised Illinois' credit outlook to "negative." 

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