By Marty Hobe
Posted Jan. 19, 2016 at 7:30 AM
GALESBURG — In the next few weeks, Gov. Bruce Rauner will give two of his most important speeches of the year, likely delivering both without a state budget.
On Jan. 27, Rauner will deliver the State of the State Address and on Feb. 17 he will issue his Budget Address. In those speeches he is expected to lay out the road map for the spring session while presenting his proposed budget for the next fiscal year.
What Rauner’s budget plan for FY17 will look like is cause for question, as the state enters its seventh month without a budget for FY16.
“Therein lies the irony in all of that,” said state Rep. Norine Hammond, R-Macomb. “We keep going from one unprecedented moment to the next.”
Some lawmakers have suggested a two-year budget, as many of the items left to be paid for still need legislative authorization. State Rep. Don Moffitt, R-Gilson, said the budget address would be the appropriate opportunity to propose a two-year spending plan, though he’s not sure it’s constitutional.
The Illinois Constitution of 1970 reads, “The General Assembly by law shall make appropriations for all expenditures of public funds by the state. Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year.”
Moffitt thinks there could be a problem because in the language "fiscal year" isn’t plural. He also thinks, under this same clause, the budget approved by the Legislature was unconstitutional as well, as it was underfunded by $3 billion to $4 billion.
Still, if it’s legal Moffitt and Hammond feel the two-year budget is the appropriate solution.
“I would think that would be the real opportunity to say here’s where we are and work out of it and work on a 24-month budget,” Moffitt said.
“We should all consider a two-year budget, if at the very least a plan for where to go,” Hammond said.
However, state Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, opposes a two-year budget, and doesn’t think it’s something the Democratically controlled Legislature would pass. Instead he thinks a make-shift spending plan put together in the spring would be the right course of action, much like the one passed last year to cover a deficit in that budget.
“I personally think we could do some sort of supplemental budget for this year to take care of some of the more urgent funding issues,” Sullivan said.
Still, the governor will have to present a budget, which is also spelled out in the Constitution. However, Rauner could push the budget address date back. In 2014, former Gov. Pat Quinn moved his address to the end of March after the primary elections.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Some lawmakers speculate Rauner may propose 2-year budget
Posted by bill pysson at 9:12 AM