From the Caucus Blog: Details of the Budget Stopgap

The state-funding plan that passed the House on Thursday, serves as a bridge to a comprehensive balanced budget for fiscal year 2017.

The funding plan does not rely on a tax hike and provides a full-year of funding for elementary and secondary education. Additionally it funds road construction, federal programs and other non-GRF programs for both fiscal years 2016 and 2017. It also provides FY17 funding to support 6 months of critical operations for higher education, state-operated facilities including prisons and veterans’ homes, fuel for the State Police to patrol our roads, and other core operations and programs for public safety, health and welfare. Funds are available under current law for all components of this bridge plan.

What It Is Not

This funding plan is not a full year budget. It is designed to keep government operating and to protect the public’s health, welfare and safety while the Governor and the legislature continue to work on a full year balanced budget with reforms that will help grow our economy.

The Details

For fiscal year 2017 the total plan is $50.6 billion. This includes $8.6 billion in general funds, $33.6 billion in other state funds and $8.4 billion federal funds.

The FY17 appropriations include: 
Record high level of funding for elementary and secondary education. The plan provides stability and predictability for schools for the full school year and will ensure that all schools in Illinois can open on time, with certainty
  • There is more than a $520 million increase in funding compared to FY16, for a total of $7.2 billion in general funds for elementary and secondary education. 
  • This plan will fully fund the foundation level for the first time in many years, ending the unfair practice of proration and will ensure that all school districts get at least as much funding from the State as they received last year. 
  • It also allocates $250 million for a new statewide equity grant that will be distributed to school districts based on the State Board of Education’s low income grant formula. 
  • A $75 million increase is included for early childhood education.
  • Avoids a state bailout of Chicago Public Schools.
Higher education funding of $1.0 billion. This is on top of $600 million already approved for FY16 this spring. The new funding is from the Education Assistance Fund, at $680 million (which is the amount of money expected to be available in that fund in the first six months of FY17), $200 million from the Fund for the Advancement of Education, $20 million from GRF, and approximately $100 million from the Personal Property Tax Replacement Fund for community colleges.
  • This plan should ensure that universities are able to open on time and complete the full fall semester. 
  • Community colleges are funded at $114 million, plus funding for adult and career tech and other grants. 
  • Includes $151 million in funding for MAP for spring semester 2016. This goes to public and private colleges, for all students who were awarded MAP grants for the spring semester.
  • Funds the Illinois Math and Science Academy, East St. Louis and Lake County centers and some higher education and community college board operations. 
Funding for critical State government operations with $454 million from GRF and $275 million from the Rainy Day Fund.
  • Utilities, food and medical services at state prisons, mental health centers, veterans’ homes and other 24 hour care facilities.
  • Fuel and vehicle repairs for six months for State troopers’ vehicles to ensure public safety and IDOT vehicles to ensure repairs, salt distribution and snow removal. 
  • Funding to continue child support collection. 
  • Funding of $51 million that will be used to make a deposit into the Commitment to Human Services Fund to fund some human services programs.
  • The State Group Health Insurance contribution from other state and federal funds, as well as employee premiums, is funded in this budget.
Human services funding of $701 million from the Commitment to Human Services Fund. This $701 million is the amount of resources projected to be available in this fund through December 2016 (including a $51 million fund appropriation deposit from GRF). This plan will help cover critical human services not being paid under consent decrees or court orders. This funding level, coupled with spending authority from court orders, allows the human service agencies to pay over 90% of the costs incurred by these programs over this 18 month period (July 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016).
Full-year FY17 appropriations of federal funds of $8.4 billion
This includes federal funding that goes directly to providers, and takes full advantage of all available federal funds.

Full-year FY17 appropriations of non-GRF/other state funds of $33.6 billion, and capital appropriations of $17.1 billion. 
This non-GRF funding includes:

  • Capital appropriations, which will ensure continuation of road and bridge improvements, payment of school construction grants, and local water and sewer improvements. Specific programs include new pay-as-you-go Illinois Department of Transportation projects covered by available projected Road Fund revenue. The funding will also allow completion of projects for certain college and state facilities which were halted in FY16 and emergency repairs at state facilities to protect the state’s assets and the safety of the public and state employees.
  • Debt service payments for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, and the State’s Civic Center bonds. 
  • Lottery prizes, local government distributions (including motor fuel taxes), low-income heating assistance and other services. 
Appropriations of all remaining non-GRF items in FY16 totaling $25.1 billion
Fiscal year 2017 appropriations in the bill include language allowing those appropriations to be used to pay FY16 bills, if necessary. Spending under consent decrees, court orders, continuing appropriations, and statutory transfers will continue in FY17.

GRF resources of over $750 million will be freed up to help fund this package including:
  • The elimination of the payback requirement on last year’s inter-fund borrowing will save $454 million General Revenue Funds.
  • Statutory changes to allow the state to refinance high interest debt will result in savings of at least $20 million General Revenue Funds.
  • A negotiated proposal to benefit from federal Affordable Care Act allocations to Illinois will free up $300 million in state GRF resources.