While the people of Illinois wait to hear what Governor Bruce Rauner will propose during his first budget address on February 18, the state’s chief executive says he’s confident schools and other critical programs can be fully funded.
During his State of the State address, Rauner told lawmakers he wants to increase funding for early childhood and K-12 education. The Democrat’s current budget currently “prorates” funding for schools, meaning they only receive 89 percent of the funding they are supposed to receive from the state.
The Governor recently outlined his budget expectations to a group of students at a Springfield High School, saying he is hopeful lawmakers will give him the authority to move money around in the budget to help fund areas that are reaching a breaking point. That includes daycare programs and the prison system.
Besides immediate budget concerns for prisons and daycare programs, Illinois could soon run out of money for the state’s court reporters. The Rauner Administration said the state program faces a more than $14 million budget gap, and funds will be exhausted by the end of March. The Rauner Administration says they are working with lawmakers right now to identify a solution to these revenue shortfalls.
Many state programs are running short of money prematurely, due to the Democrats’ passage of a budget that failed to account for the January 2015 phase-out of their 2011 tax hike in their fiscal year 2015 budget plan. This was exacerbated by former Governor Pat Quinn, who failed to scale back spending during the first half of the budget year. Now, Governor Rauner and the legislature are tasked with addressing the budget problems aggravated by Quinn’s lack of spending control.