Illinois budget | St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois budget

When out campaigning, Governor Bruce Rauner has been making big claims about lowering taxes. But there was little follow-through in Wednesday's budget proposal.

Students get ready for a violin class taught by Philip Tinge at Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School in East St. Louis.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School in East St. Louis is one of hundreds of private schools in Illinois that could see a financial boost from the state’s new tax credit scholarship program.

More than 90 percent of the families who send their children to the school fall below the federal poverty line of $24,600 for a family of four. That gives them top priority to receive a scholarship.

Although children from low-income families get priority,  if Illinois follows the pattern of other states with similar programs, most of the tax credit scholarships will go to middle-class families.

Illinois governor signs sweeping school funding changes

Aug 31, 2017
File photo | WUIS Radio

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner on Thursday signed into law sweeping changes to the way the state funds schools, calling it a historic day that will bring "more equality, more fairness and better opportunity for all the students of Illinois."

Besides distributing state aid more equitably, the long-sought deal the Legislature approved this week gives districts more flexibility on state mandates, allows residents in well-funded districts to reduce their property taxes and creates a new tax credit for donations to private school scholarships.

Illinois’ school formula passes, giving 800-plus public districts more money

Aug 28, 2017
Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3:45 p.m. Aug. 29 with comment from Belleville superintendent — Illinois’ school funding overhaul fight is all but over thanks to Tuesday’s 38-13 Senate vote.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has said he’ll quickly sign the plan, which will increase aid to more than 800 public school districts. Already, schools haven't received two payments from the state due to the delay in instituting the new funding mechanism.

Comptroller To Rauner: Get Going On Backlog

Aug 8, 2017

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to step up the pace in dealing with the state’s debt.

Students walk through the campus of Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville in the Spring of 2017.
Provided | SIUE

Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville is planning to boost salaries, launch new academic programs and continue renovating buildings thanks to lawmakers finally passing a state budget.

The school even expects to receive the $15 million it loaned the Carbondale campus by the end of August.

Kids sitting on the floor in a classroom
Phil Roeder | Flickr

Illinois passed a budget Thursday for the first time since 2015, and is giving more money to education than in previous spending plans.

But several years of prorated and delayed state aid have forced K-12 school districts in St. Clair and Madison counties to cut staff, increase class sizes, take on debt and deplete cash reserves. And, like the state’s finances, it’s going to take time for districts to bounce back.

The Illinois State Capitol.
J. Stephen Conn | Flickr

On our Friday “Behind the Headlines" segment, we take a look at a top news story from the week. This week, we turned our attention to the Illinois budget and, then, to Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' actions this week. 

Illinois lawmakers override Rauner's budget veto, but state's finances still broken

Jul 6, 2017
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner
File photo | WUIS Radio

Illinois broke its long-running budget stalemate Thursday when the House followed in the Senate's footsteps by voting 74-37 to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto. Both Democrats and Republicans backed the measure.

Without a budget for two years, Illinois racked up billions in unpaid bills and had to significantly cut funding to social services and education. The $36 billion spending plan for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, retroactive to Saturday, is paired with a $5 billion increase in income taxes. 

The Illinois State Capitol.
J. Stephen Conn | Flickr

Even though the Illinois House overrode Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget veto Thursday — leading to a budget for the first time in more than two years — the state’s schools may still be in a pickle.

The language of the legislation could effectively block schools from getting state funding because, while it appropriates money, there’s currently no legal roadmap for doling out the money.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks to Republican supporters in East Alton on April 12, 2017.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

After two years without a budget and under threat of “junk bond” status, Illinois Democrats finally convinced enough Republican lawmakers to break with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday.

Rauner vetoed the budget as expected. The Senate quickly overrode him, and the House will try to follow suit Thursday.

In Bipartisan Vote, House Approves Tax Increase

Jul 3, 2017

The Illinois House has approved a 1.2 percentage-point increase in the state income tax.

Last night, more than a dozen Republicans joined the majority Democrats to pass the legislation, despite the objections of Governor Bruce Rauner.

The Illinois State Capitol.
J. Stephen Conn | Flickr

The state of Illinois has been without a budget for the past two years and could enter a third straight year without a spending plan if a budget is not sent to Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner by Friday.

The Illinois Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois.
Jeremy Wilburn | Flickr

Updates with details of planned vote Friday — Illinois' Senate minority leader is calling it quits come Saturday. Republican Sen. Christine Radogno's announcement Thursday came as lawmakers are still trying to nail down an elusive budget deal. 

Meanwhile, House Speaker Michael Madigan said he'll call a $36.5 billion spending plan for a vote Friday while Democrats and Republicans continue to negotiate tangential issues crucial to a state budget deal with Gov. Bruce Rauner. The Chicago Democrat reiterated Thursday that in order to pay for that plan, there would need to be an income-tax hike, though no legislation for that has been filed.

File photo | WUIS Radio

If Illinois legislators fail to send Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner a budget by Friday, he said he'll extend a legislative special session until they "get the job done." 

He issued that statement Wednesday afternoon, the eighth day of the special session. The new fiscal year starts Saturday, and should no agreement come before then, Illinois will enter a third straight year without a spending plan.

The Illinois Capitol in Springfield
Flickr | jglazer75

Illinois lawmakers are looking at a Democrat-pushed budget plan that would raise income taxes and make steep spending cuts as a way to end the budget impasse.

Already, the state has been without a spending plan for two years, and the next fiscal year begins Saturday.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner
File photo | WUIS Radio

Illinois legislators will come back to Springfield for a special session in order to work out a budget deal, Gov. Bruce Rauner said Thursday in an attempt to end an impasse that's approaching its third year and running up the state's deficit. 

The Republican governor's announcement, done via a Facebook video and statement, came the same day that the multi-state lottery association overseeing Powerball and Mega Millions games will leave Illinois by the end of this month if there is no budget. 

Southwestern Illinois College to lay off 47 employees

May 12, 2017
Provided | Southwestern Illinois College

Eight full-time and 39 part-time employees of Southwestern Illinois College will lose their jobs in July after its board of trustees approved the cuts Wednesday.

Another 19 administrative positions at the Metro East community college are also being eliminated in July, in a plan trustees approved in March.

SIUE to lend millions to sister campus in Carbondale

May 11, 2017
SIU System president Randy Dunn
File photo | Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated May 11 with approval — The trustees of Southern Illinois University have approved a loan of up to $35 million from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville to support its Carbondale campus.

The board of the university system approved the plan Wednesday after delaying a vote last month.

There was another setback Wednesday for efforts to end Illinois' budget stalemate.

Senate Democrats attempted a series of test votes on items in the so-called “grand bargain.” But Republicans refused to go along, saying more negotiation is needed to reach a deal they can support.

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