Rauner Administration Initiates Management Steps to Prepare for Madigan-Cullerton Budget

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rauner and his administration are bringing in reforms to handle the debt left by the Madigan-Cullerton budget.

House Speaker Mike Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and their caucuses have passed a budget for the 2016 fiscal year which begins July 1. This budget is nearly $4 billion dollars in debt. The previous budget from the 2015 fiscal year turned out to be $1.5 billion out-of-balance.

Governor Rauner inherited this budget upon entering office. In order to work with the Madigan-Cullerton budget and avoid raising taxes, Rauner and his administration have to take certain steps in order to balance out the state's budget.

Outlined below are the steps the Rauner Administration is initiating today to begin balancing the Madigan-Cullerton budget. The governor's office reports additional steps will be announced as they are finalized.

Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Effective Immediately

-         Immediate suspension of all future incentive offers to companies for business attraction and retention.

-        This includes EDGE Tax Credits, Large Business Attraction Grants, Employer Training Investment Program Incentive Grants and Prime Sites Grants.

-         Will defer application approvals for film tax credits and High Impact Business designations.

-         All commitments previously made in any of these programs will be honored.

Action Initiated

-         Prepare and provide notice for the July 1 suspension of the State Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (SLIHEAP).

-         The federal portion of the program, funded at about $170 million, will continue.

Department of Transportation

Effective Immediately

-         In light of the state's current fiscal crisis and a lack of sufficient capital resources, the Illiana Expressway will not move forward at this time.  As a result, the Illinois Department of Transportation will remove the project from its current multi-year plan.  It is the determination of IDOT that the project costs exceed currently available resources. The Department will begin the process of suspending all existing project contracts and procurements.

Action Initiated

-         Beginning July 1, the Department will “ground” all state plane passenger service.  Planes will be maintained and available for emergency services.

Department of Juvenile Justice

Action Initiated

-         Begin the process of identifying one or two juvenile correctional facilities for closure.

-         Juvenile system has a surplus of capacity

-         Capacity at approximately 1,200 beds, with less than 700 occupied.

Department of Corrections

Action Initiated

-         Begin the process of closing the Hardin County Work Camp

-         Approximately 180 inmates will be moved

-         Approximately 60 Work Camp staff affected

Department of Healthcare and Family Services

Action Initiated

-         Implement an audit review of nursing home reimbursements to ensure payments comply with recently implemented new rate structure.  

-         Recover overpayments to nursing homes and implement financial penalties for improper billings.

Illinois State Police

Action Initiated

-         Immediately freeze all vehicle purchases.

Department on Aging

Action Initiated

-         File emergency rules to enact means testing to Aging's Community Care Program. No income limit currently exists.

-         Increase the Determination of Need (DON) Score required to obtain services through Aging's Community Care Program

Department of Human Services

Action Initiated

-         DHS will pursue cost control strategies through emergency rules to the Childcare Program:

-   Increase copays for parents using the program; and

-   Freeze intake and create waiting lists.

-         DHS will also begin background checks for relatives providing child care.  Background checks are currently required for child care licensed centers, group homes and non-relatives who provide care.

Department of Natural Resources

Action Initiated

-         The Department will not award Open Space Land Acquisition Development Grants in FY16.

-         The Department will begin the process to suspend operations and close the five state museums to visitors.  The state will continue to maintain and secure the museums to protect the artifacts and exhibits.
Reaction to Governor Rauner's moves came quickly.

"The action taken today by Governor Rauner is a direct, obscene, and wholly indefensible attack on children and families in our state," said Maria Whelan, President and CEO of Illinois Action for Children. "By dramatically increasing parent co-payments, discontinuing enrollment, and creating waiting lists... the Governor is holding hostage the Child Care Assistance Program and the families that depend on it," Whelan said in a statement. 

Meantime, the governor's office claims it had no choice.

"Speaker Madigan, President Cullerton, and the politicians they control refuse to act responsibly and reform state government," Rauner Spokesman Lance Trover said.

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