On Monday, April 11th Truth in Accounting co-hosted a forum with the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform titled "Illinois Budget: Defining & Funding the Essential Priorities." This event was covered by Reboot Illinois, and you can read their article here or view a full video of the event here!
The forum hosted a panel comprised of eight Illinois lawmakers: Rep. Patricia R. Bellock (R), Rep. Fred Crespo (D), Rep. William Davis (D), Rep. Greg Harris (D), Rep. Thomas Morrison (R), Senator Matt Murphy (R), Rep. Robert Pritchard (R), and Senator Heather Steans (D). All of the featured speakers were Illinois House and Senate Appropriation Committee Chairs or Minority Spokesmen.
Illinois still does not have a budget for 2016. One of the main purposes of the forum was to identify possible areas where the legislators and the governor could compromise in relationship to the budget.
The legislators identified these areas:
- Procurement reform;
- Worker's compensation reform in line with HR 1287;
- Pension reform in the form of "re-amortizing" the unfunded balanced and pushing the cost associated with end of career salary spike down to school districts;
- Tax reform including sales tax changes that would "modernize the revenue structure;"
- "Swiping" of special funds with large cash balances; and
- Medicaid reform to reduce costs.
I would like to thank Susan Garrett and the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform for co-hosting this forum, and to Laurence Msall of the Civic Federation and Ralph Martire of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability for moderating the panel discussion. I would also like to express my appreciation to the legislators for the time they took out of their busy schedules to participate in this event.
Hopefully, the forum will lead to action on the Illinois 2016 and 2017 budgets.