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Good afternoon, everyone! I wanted to take a quick minute to update you all on the events in Springfield last week.
The General Assembly (GA) came together on Wednesday and Thursday to pass a bill that partially appropriated for a short-term, stopgap budget. Governor Bruce Rauner has already signed this budget, SB 2047, into law. The bill is designed to carry the state through the end of December. It is important to note that the bill did not contain appropriations for items currently covered by court orders or consent decrees (such as Medicaid), nor was there any new or increased revenue passed by the GA. Also, it did not include any Turnaround Agenda items the governor has previously been demanding. It did include spending authority for FY16 items that had previously been without an appropriation.
For FY16 and the budget items AFC tends to be most interested in, the African American HIV/AIDS Response Act (AAARA) was funded at $500,000, though from the African American HIV/AIDS Response Fund (AAARF), not from the General Revenue Fund (GRF) as previous versions of the budget proposed by House Democrats (and vetoed by the governor) had contained. This is important because there was no transfer of funds into the AAARF within this or other legislation, and the AAARF currently contains only around $220,000. By not funding the fund, this appropriation will likely not be spent, just as the FY15 appropriation of $1.5 million was not spent.
The stopgap appropriation bill provides three lines of funding (totaling $13,729,600) for homeless supportive housing for FY16. This is short of full funding, though much more than Rauner initially proposed for FY16. However, these funds are available for both FY16 and FY17.
The budget contains a number of items for FY17. The federal funds that had been appropriated in previous FY16 bills were included in this legislation as well. The items that AFC has been tracking also were included, and their amounts are as follows:
AAARA: $500,000 (from AAARF)
HIV Lump Sum: $17,923,800 (from the Commitment to Human Services Fund)
There were a number of other items passed by the GA as well, Chicago School Pension Parity, ACA hospital access payments, among other items that got both sides to an agreement. This bill is a welcome relief from the uncertainty that we dealt with for an entire year, but it is important to note that this does not fix the underlying issues facing Illinois, namely that we have not enough revenue to support all the services that Illinoisans in most need require. As long as there is a lack of political will to either pass increased revenues or to cut those essential services, there will continue to be budgetary issues. The impasse has, unfortunately, only been given a momentary reprieve.
The House has released its "veto session" calendar and are scheduled to next be in session on Tuesday, Nov. 15. The Senate has yet to release its veto calendar, but it will likely mirror the House’s.
Categorized under BudgetWatch.