CHICAGO May 27 The Illinois House of
Representatives on Tuesday passed a third version of a fiscal
2015 budget that would erode some of the progress the state has
made on getting its fiscal house in order by relying on one-time
The Democrat-controlled House passed a series of spending
bills that sponsors said largely keep funding levels flat as a
result of letting higher income tax rates partially expire
halfway through the fiscal year. Later in a committee, Democrats
took action to increase the revenue estimate for the fiscal year
that begins July 1 to $35.35 billion from a previously agreed
upon $34.5 billion, according to a spokeswoman for House
"The new revenue number we believe assumes a new $650
million interfund borrowing program. This is similar to sweeping
funds from other state funds," said Vicki Crawford, the
A spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan could not be
reached for comment.
The budget bills still need to be approved by the
Democrat-controlled Senate before the legislative sessions ends
Rikeesha Phelon, a spokeswoman for Senate President John
Cullerton, said the budget will allow level funding to preserve
"However, the effect of budget is to delay doomsday by
borrowing and increasing our backlog of bills," Phelon said.
"Admittedly, this budget reverses some of the progress that we
have made in recent years."
Illinois' pile of unpaid bills shrank to $4.17 billion last
month from $5.3 billion in April 2013, according to Governor Pat
Quinn's budget office.
Madigan told reporters on Monday his chamber would take up a
12-month "middle-of-the-road" budget on Tuesday based on the
expectation income tax rates that were temporarily boosted in
2011 will be allowed to partially roll back on Jan. 1.
The governor's budget office has estimated the state would
lose about $2 billion in revenue in fiscal 2015 as a result of
the personal income tax rate falling to 3.75 percent from 5
percent and the corporate tax rate dropping to 5.25 percent from
The House initially passed a roughly $38 billion general
funds budget on May 15 that depended on the current income tax
rates becoming permanent. But Madigan fell far short of
mustering the 60 votes among Democratic members needed for the
income tax extension. Still, the House last Friday soundly
defeated a pared-down budget that cut funding due to the revenue
loss from the tax rate rollback.
The latest spending plan was passed over objections of
Republicans, who complained the bills landed on their desks just
a couple hours before the session began.
"The ink is not even dry on this," said House Republican
Leader Jim Durkin. "How can you vote on this?"
The fate of the income tax increase is being tracked by Wall
Street credit rating agencies, which already have Illinois at
the lowest ratings among states, largely due to its $100 billion
unfunded pension liability.
(Reporting by Karen Pierog; Editing by Ken Wills)