In sixteen years in the Illinois General Assembly, I don’t remember voting on how much money we thought would be available.
That’s a necessary element if one is to follow the State Constitution’s balanced budget requirement.
There would be some language inserted in the budget bill that revenues were deemed to be sufficient to cover expenditures.
Something real general.
This year, with Senate President John Cullerton floating the same trial balloon that State Rep. Mark Beaubien mentioned in Crystal Lake before his unopposed re-election–the taxing of retirement income for the first time in the state’s history–revenue estimating is getting more attention.
Consider the following press release from State Rep. Mike Tryon:
SPRINGFIELD….. State Representative Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake) joined colleagues on both sides of the isle Tuesday in voting in favor of House Resolution 110, which estimates the State of Illinois’ revenues for 2011-2012 at levels that are 21% lower than what Governor Pat Quinn estimated in his recent budget address. The House vote was unanimous.
“We believe Governor Quinn overestimated next year’s revenues by as much as 21%,” said Tryon. “He is refusing to face the financial realities of this State and he continues to promote the spending of money that we simply don’t have. By setting a realistic and fiscally responsible revenue baseline, we can better prioritize our resources, stop the borrowing, and finally reduce State spending in a meaningful way.”
The resolution, co-sponsored by Republican House Minority Leader Tom Cross and Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, estimates that revenues for the next fiscal year will be $33.2 billion, which is $700 million lower than what Governor Quinn said in February when he presented his draft budget to a combined session of the Illinois House of Representatives and Senate.
“House Republicans have led the charge on reducing spending and today that persistence has paid off,” said Tryon. “House Resolution 110 adopts the same simple budgeting philosophy families use every day–start with conservative estimates for how much money you’ll be bringing in, then create a spending plan to pay bills and meets other expenses without spending more money than you have.”
According to Tryon, the resolution will guide upcoming budget discussions based on an Illinois Constitutional requirement that appropriations for any fiscal year not exceed estimated revenues for that year.
“The first step in balancing our budget is making sure our revenue projections are accurate,” said Tryon. “Only when we have confidence in the revenue side of the budget can we properly appropriate funds.”