By Greg Bishop
Illinois News Network
SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Bruce Rauner will ask lawmakers for a $1.1 billion supplemental allocation to address unappropriated spending from fiscal 2017.
The big ask of taxpayers is expected to be part of the governor’s budget address next week. Governor’s Office of Budget and Management Director Hans Zigmund said the $1.1 billion is from the previous fiscal year when there wasn’t a budget. The bulk of that, 85 percent, is for overspending from the Department of Corrections and Medicaid.
“We want to be able to send those vouchers over to the comptroller,” Zigmund said. “We have to get that stuff vouchered so that she can effectively pay those bills”
State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, wants to wait and see what else is in the request.
“The danger in any supplemental is alway mission creep, right, because other people are always trying to jump in,” Rose said. “And then the question is … does it still balance at the end of the day to the funds you have?”
Zigmund wouldn’t elaborate on any other elements of the governor’s budget address, which will be delivered in front of lawmakers in Springfield Wednesday.
While Democrats put the blame of the current unbalanced budget on Rauner, Republicans said Democrats knew the budget they passed over his veto last year was unbalanced, despite a $5 billion tax increase that also was approved over the governor’s veto.
Zigmund said that, through various methods and cuts within operations, the administration was able to get the current year deficit down from more than $1 billion to $600 million.
State Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, said she didn’t want to play the blame game. But, she said, there would have been a better outcome if the governor was more involved with leaders meetings.
“I don’t think they’ve met since December of 2016, if I recall that,” Steans said. “So that’s not leadership. That’s not getting down and actually coming down with a solution.”
Rose said that’s nonsense.
“It’s sort of a cynical attempt here to somehow lay this at the door of the governor’s office when they passed a budget, it wasn’t balanced,” Rose said. “They raised everyone’s taxes, and they still couldn’t get it to balance.”
The current fiscal year budget was passed over the governor’s veto, as was a 32 percent increase in the individual income tax rate and a 33 percent increase in the corporate income tax rate.