The Illinois General Assembly adjourned on March 26th following a full week of committee action. March 27th was the deadline to consider in committee substantive legislation in its originating chamber. Both chambers are on a two week spring break and will return to session on April 14th.
The Office of State Relations thanks everyone who helped review and comment on introduced legislation to date. We were successful in stopping a number of bills from moving forward that would have had a negative effect on the University. We continue to work on bills that we are both opposing and supporting.
Governor Rauner & General Assembly are taking steps to resolve FY15 budget shortfall. Faced with a $1.6 billion FY15 budget deficit upon taking office, Governor Rauner almost immediately asked for executive powers to reorganize spending and enable the state to get through the fiscal year, which covers spending needs through June 30, 2015.
After negotiations, the General Assembly agreed this week to language contained in HB 317 and HB 318. HB 317, an appropriations bill, made cuts and transfers in state spending. HB 318, a budget implementation bill, granted the governor the legal authority to carry out and implement the cuts in spending and spending transfers made in HB 317.
The U of I will get a $15 million mid-year FY15 reduction as a result of this budget fix. This amount will be deducted from the nearly $300 million the state owed to the University as of last Friday. The cut will be absorbed by reducing the amount of planned repair and renovation of facilities across the university.
FY16 Budget-Revenue Hearing
The House Revenue and Finance Committee heard testimony on March 27 from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the Governor's Office of Management and Budget (GOMB), and the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) on expected state revenues in FY16, the spending period that will begin on July 1, 2015.
Spending pressures in FY16 are being driven by the continuing phase-down of the "temporary" January 2011 income tax increase. CGFA estimates that the state's cash intake from the income tax hike is dropping by nearly $5 billion over the two-year period starting in FY14 and leveling off in FY16. This matches the two-year period marked by a drop in the state's personal income tax rate from 5.00% to 3.75%. GOMB's numbers and IDOR's numbers closely match these estimates.
Financial Aid for Undocumented Students Legislation Lobby Day
On March 25th, members from the UIC undocumented student taskforce were in the Capitol to lobby in support of U of I’s financial aid for undocumented student legislation, HB3528. The legislation will be coming up on the House floor for a vote in the upcoming weeks. We are asking members of the House of Representatives to support this legislation allowing undocumented students to receive state based financial aid.
The Senate and House both reconvene on Tuesday, April 14th.