Budget, spending plan released before Illinois House goes into overtime

Budget, spending plan released before Illinois House goes into overtime

SPRINGFIELD — In a historic and busy day at the state Capitol, lawmakers released a $40.6 billion general revenue fund budget and a $45 billion capital spending plan just 12 hours before the General Assembly's scheduled adjournment.

While House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, announced the House session would extend through Sunday, Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, reportedly had no plans to extend the Senate's stay at the Capitol. To take effect at the Legislature's target dates, several key pieces of legislation would require three-fifths majorities, as opposed to simple majorities, if they were not passed by midnight Friday.

By 9:15 p.m. Friday, it was unclear if any of the measures would be approved by the scheduled adjournment, or if the session would extend through the weekend.

State budget

General Revenue Fund spending in the fiscal year 2020 budget is estimated at $39.9 billion. An added $600 million in supplemental spending for fiscal year 2019, most of which will go to paying back-pay for step increases to state employee salaries that former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner withheld, would bring the total to about $40.6 billion.

The budget includes $375 million in added state funding for K-12 education, $25 million more than is mandated by the state's evidence-based funding formula. It also increases mandated categorical funding for K-12 education by $47.3 million, bringing expenditures in that area to $928.8 million.

Funding for early childhood education would increase by $50 million, up to $543.7 million.

Higher education will see an increase by $134 million over fiscal year 2019 levels, increasing to $1.94 billion. The increase would include $50 million more than last year for Monetary Award Grant funding and 5 percent increases to state university and college operations.

The Department of Human Services, the Department on Aging, and the Department of Children and Family Services would all see rate increases to cover the state's increase to the minimum wage. Overall, human service departments would see an increase of $567 million from last year's budget.

General revenue funding for DCFS would increase by $89 million from fiscal year 2019, bringing the total up to $845 million.

The measure appropriating the funding is Senate Bill 262.

Infrastructure spending

An ambitious infrastructure spending package would fund billions of dollars of backlogged road and bridge projects as well as vertical projects at schools, state higher-education facilities and other state-owned buildings.

It has been more than 10 years since the state last had a capital plan, leading to crumbling roads, bridges and other state infrastructure. More than 2,300 bridges are deemed structurally deficient, and the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Illinois transportation infrastructure a D grade.

The plan released Friday included $45 billion in spending, with $10.7 billion going to pay-as-you-go projects, $20.6 billion for bonded capital projects, $10 billion in federal funding and $2.6 billion to local governments for infrastructure projects.

That bill would allocate $33.2 billion for transportation projects including roads and bridges, $3.5 billion for education infrastructure projects, $4.3 billion for state facilities, $1.2 billion for environmental conservation projects, $420 million for broadband expansion and $465 million for health care and human services facilities.

The infrastructure spending is encompassed in House Bill 62, and it is made possible by increased transportation-related taxes and fees, a massive gambling expansion and other measures.

Horizontal revenue

Funding for horizontal infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges would rely on an increase to the state's motor fuel tax and several other license and registration fee increases.

An increase to the state's per-gallon gas tax from 19 cents to 38 cents indexed each year at the consumer price index would generate $1.2 billion for fiscal year 2020. An additional 5-cent increase on diesel fuel would generate $78 million.

Cook County municipalities would be allowed to add a 3-cent tax on top of the state-issued motor fuel tax.

A $50 increase to vehicle registration fees, bumping them up to $151 for most vehicles, would generate $475 million. Electric vehicle registrations would cost $251, with the standard vehicle fee plus $100 replacing what would have been generated by gas usage. That would create an estimated $4 million in revenue.

An increase to title registration fees would generate $146 million in revenue, and $50 million in revenue would result from a $100 increase to truck registrations.

The bill also shifts 1 percent of revenues generated from a separate sales tax on motor fuel to the road fund.

The measure is House Bill 3096, and any funds raised from the motor fuel tax and licensing fees would be required to be spent on road and bridge safety due to a "lock box" amendment passed by voters in 2016.

Vertical revenue

A bill to legalize sports betting, add six casinos licenses across the state and expand other gambling options also includes a number of new taxes and revenue producing measures.

The total revenue produced by the bill would be $960 million, with $660 million of that generated from the gambling expansion for up-front licensing fees ($500 million), increased video gambling terminal tax ($150 million) and ongoing sports wagering revenue ($10 million).

The other $300 million would come from a $1 per pack increase to the tax on cigarettes ($156 million), a 50-cent increase to the real estate transfer tax ($68 million), a removal of the sales tax exemption on traded-in property valued above $10,000 ($45 million), and a 6 percent daily or 9 percent monthly tax on parking lots and garages ($30 million).

That bill is Senate Bill 690.

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