A report from State Rep. Mike Tryon:
Illinois Democrats Push Through Unconstitutional Budget that Exceeds Available Revenue by $3 Million
Yesterday, members of the House of Representatives considered 73 separate appropriation bills that will comprise the Fiscal Year 2015 budget.
I joined the other members of the Republican Caucus in voting against every single bill for a variety of reasons.
The appropriations are unconstitutional: Article VIII of the Illinois Constitution is clear in its mandate that “appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year.”
In February, the House unanimously adopted House Joint Resolution 80, which set the FY15 revenue estimate at $34.495 billion.
The total appropriations approved on Thursday exceeded that estimate by close to $3 billion.
Expenditures were Approved before Supporting Revenue was in Place:
The appropriations are based upon dollars that do not exist (yet). Governor Quinn and House Speaker Mike Madigan are on record as wanting to permanently extend the temporary income tax hike of 2011; however, it has also been reported that Madigan is having a difficult time finding 60 legislators willing to make that vote. The strategy of approving the spending side before revenue exists to support it puts the Speaker in a better position to twist arms of reluctant lawmakers.
The Budget is unbalanced:
The House was Constitutionally-bound to keep expenditures for FY15 at or under $34.495 billion. At $37.355 billion, the budget is not balanced. I have never voted in favor of an unbalanced budget. In addition to being in violation of the law, it was reckless and irresponsible.
Forces the Extension of the Tax Hike:
By approving expenditures that exceed available revenues, the Speaker has set the stage for the extension of the 2011 temporary tax hike.
Republicans Shut Out of Process:
While Republicans were involved in early, broad budget discussions, we were eventually asked to leave appropriations committee meetings when appropriations bills were finalized. I was elected to represent 107,000 Illinoisans, and when I was removed from that process, the constituents I serve had their voices silenced. They were denied representation at meetings that determined how their tax dollars would be spent.
I was outspoken on the House floor with regard to the budget process used this year and I invite you to watch the video of my floor comments.
Thursday was without a doubt one of the most difficult days I’ve ever experienced in the House of Representatives, and it highlighted the dangers that exist when one Party holds a super-majority and has the power to completely control the legislative agenda.
Suburban School Districts Lose Significant State Aid under New Funding Plan
A bill that seeks to overhaul Illinois’ complicated school funding formula would divert millions from suburban school districts and toward downstate schools. SB16 received a favorable vote in the Senate’s Executive Committee on May 8 and could be heard and voted upon in the Senate this week. District 66 school districts would be hit hard by the changes proposed in the bill:
- Crystal Lake High School District 155: 17.2% reduction in State Aid ($1.45 million reduction)
- Huntley School District 158: 11.2% reduction in State Aid ($2.1 million reduction)
- Crystal Lake Grade School District 47: 72.6% reduction in State Aid ($5.67 million reduction)
- School District 300: 9.9% reduction in State Aid ($2.05 million reduction)
Advocates for SB16 claim the bill would provide equity to “rich” and “poor” districts across Illinois.
However, I fear that the diversion of these levels of funds will lead suburban school districts to raise taxes to replace the diverted revenue. I will obviously be watching this legislation very closely, and will fight for its defeat in the House.
District 66 Schools Receive School Safety Grants
Several schools in the 66th Illinois House District are included in the list of Illinois schools that will receive a share of $25 million in grants to enhance security. In all, 448 public elementary and secondary school districts, community colleges and state universities received grants toward the completion of 1,312 safety projects. The following schools in District 66 will be receiving grant assistance:
- Crystal Lake Grade School District 47: Canterbury Elementary, Indian Prairie Elementary School, Glacier Ridge Elementary School, Woods Creek Elementary School
- Crystal Lake District 155: Crystal Lake South High School
- Huntley District 158: Marlowe Middle School, Mackeben Elementary School, Conley Elementary School, Chesak Elementary School, Heineman Middle School
- District U-46: Century Oaks Elementary School