As part of an overall effort to promote budget transparency, State Sen. Michael Connelly (R-Wheaton) has a pair of legislative initiatives, which allow the public more time to view county and state budgets.
“As we hopefully begin to emerge from 12 years of fiscal uncertainty at the state level and property taxes continue to rise, the public is demanding more fiscal transparency,” Connelly said. “I hope the era of passing budgets with a two hour notice at the State Capitol is over. The trustworthy path to fiscal solvency starts with the public’s input and ability to inspect state and county budgets.”
The Senator said the current Fiscal Year 2015 Illinois budget is a prime example of why his Senate Bill 1356, which would require a three-day posting before a budget bill can be voted on, should be considered by the legislature. In a matter of hours, Democrats in the General Assembly rammed through a $1.6 billion unbalanced budget over the objections of Senator Connelly and his Senate Republican colleagues.
“If we put in place a 72-hour sunshine requirement for budget bills to be considered, it would slow down the legislative process and enable the average constituent time to voice their opinion to their legislator,” Connelly said. “This three-day posting would also slow up the state’s budget process and force a closer examination of how the state plans to spend $35 billion on behalf of taxpayers.”
Connelly’s companion bill, Senate Bill 1469 would require county boards and commissions across the state to post their budget proposals for a minimum of seven days before taking final actions. The legislation would also require county authorities to have a public hearing before final actions are taken on budgetary matters.
The measure would add an additional seven days onto the current 15 days for public inspection and input through the public hearing process.
“We have a duty to the state’s taxpayers and local property tax payers to ensure that budgets are as open and transparent as possible,” Connelly concluded.
Senate Bill 1356 is assigned to the Senate Executive Committee and 1456 awaits a hearing in the Senate Local Government Committee.