FY16 Budget Update

General Assembly watchdogs chart continued budget picture.
The nonpartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the in-house budget agency of the Illinois General Assembly, released their October 2015 fiscal report this week. The CGFA “Monthly Briefing” covers ongoing State revenues, particularly key State General Funds revenue numbers, and ongoing trends likely to affect future State revenues. For example, the October briefing includes a discussion, based on nationwide trends and economic models, of the likely health of the 2015 Christmas retail selling season and its expected impact on State sales tax revenues.

CGFA, working in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Revenue, uncovered continued dismal trends in State revenues this October. Illinois general funds revenues were $319 million lower in October 2015 (fiscal year 2016) than they had been in October 2014. General Funds revenues come from income taxes, sales taxes, and other sources. As in previous months, the decline was paced by a year-over-year shortfall in State personal income tax revenues and corporate income tax revenues. The accumulated deficit for the four months of FY16 so far experienced is $1,456 million. The current fiscal year began on July 1, 2015.

Governor Rauner issues amendatory veto of DON score legislation.
Governor Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto Friday of House Bill 2482, legislation that would lock into statute that an individual with a particular threshold score on the Determination of Need (DON) assessment tool would be eligible for both institutional and home and community-based long term care services.

Similar to Senate Bill 570, the proposed legislation concerning the Child Care Assistance Program, HB 2482 would have unintended consequences that would negatively impact the state’s long-term ability to serve individuals in need.

“These bills may be well-intentioned, but they are ultimately harmful to the programs they are trying to help,” Rauner spokesman Lance Trover said. “The governor understands and shares the frustration of members who want to fund these programs, but the appropriate way to do so is in the context of a truly balanced budget. As drafted, both pieces of legislation would create serious problems that jeopardize the future of the Child Care Assistance Program as well as services for the elderly.”

House Bill 2482 would lock into statute that an individual who qualifies for assistance is entitled to institutional care. Additionally, the approach contemplated by this legislation puts the state’s compliance with Medicaid waiver regulations and ability to maximize federal match funds at serious risk.

As noted in the governor’s veto message House Bill 2482 “takes a step in the wrong direction… For too long, Illinois has over-prescribed institutional care to lower-need individuals when less expensive and more appropriate care options are available. In order to provide the best particular care for each individual, to ensure that our support services remain affordable, and to maximize the number of individuals served, we must rebalance the services being provided with greater precision. Prescribing institutional care for individuals who do not need it is wrong for the individual and wrong for taxpayers. Moreover, over-prescribing institutional care is inconsistent with the direction being taken across the country.”