Here's what happened last week in Illinois

FY16 Budget Crisis
Democrats send unbalanced partial-month budget to the Governor. As the State of Illinois entered the third week of the new fiscal year without a balanced budget in place, the Democrat majority continued to take a piece-meal approach to the budget crisis.

On Wednesday, the Illinois Senate concurred with House changes to SB 2040, an unbalanced partial month budget set to expire on August 1. The Democrats’ plan passed the House by the bare minimum of 71 partisan Democrat votes in the House the previous week. SB 2040 does not contain one-month spending levels based on the projected FY16 revenue estimate of $32 billion.

In the House, Democrats again backed a temporary budget to fund certain services at a level that is not sustainable over the course of the entire fiscal year. House Amendment 1 to HB 4142 was adopted by a narrow majority of Democrats, but did not receive enough votes to be passed on Third Reading and was therefore held for future consideration.

The Democrat majority continues to insist on spending levels that are unsustainable. The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget believes this plan will ultimately require the expenditure of over $36 billion of GRF taxpayer resources for FY16. The Democrats’ bills march the taxpayers of Illinois toward a $4 billion unbalanced budget one month at a time.

House Republicans continue to stand united in our support for a truly balanced budget that protects the interests of taxpayers, working families and seniors.


State Employee Pay Update
Illinois state workers’ paychecks go out as court fight continues. Comptroller Leslie Munger forged ahead with plans to send out full paychecks to state workers Wednesday, despite an ongoing court battle over whether public employees can be paid while state government operates without a budget.

Checks went out to 6,800 employees who were due to be paid Wednesday for work performed in the first two weeks of the state's budget year. Others in Illinois' roughly 60,000-person state government workforce are on different pay schedules, and their checks aren't due until later this month. The Chicago Tribune has more here.

Following Comptroller Munger’s decision to issue paychecks to state employees, Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed an emergency motion for direct appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court on Monday. Madigan requested a consolidation of the two conflicting matters pending on Cook County and St. Clair County.

The direct question for which the Attorney General seeks clarity is “when the State can expend public funds in the absence of a constitutionally required appropriations statute.” The Cook County circuit court agreed that an appropriation is necessary to expend funds (see People v. Munger) and barred employee payroll save for the federal minimum wage. A week later, the St. Clair County circuit court allowed for paychecks to be cut (see AFSCME, et al. v. State). The Attorney General argues that AFSCME v. Netsch (1991) settled the issue but with conflicting court opinions, the Supreme Court should provide the final word regarding the Appropriations Clause.

Late on Monday, July 13, the Supreme Court announced that all parties will have until July 20 to file motions objecting to the Attorney General’s motion.


Cook County Sales Tax Increase
Sales tax hiked 1 percent, making Chicago among highest in nation. As Democrat powerbrokers across Illinois consider raising taxes, the Cook County Board approved a 1-percent sales hike tax to help fund the county's pension shortfall, effective on January 1, 2016.

Proposed by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, the hike is expected to generate $450 million. It was approved with a 9-7 vote.

The Cook County sales tax is currently .75 percent, but next year it will hit 1.75 percent. That would make Chicago's total sales tax 10.25-percent, which would be among the highest in the nation. ABC-7 has the story.


Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
SIDS education enhancement becomes law. New parents in Illinois will be ensured to leave the hospital with good, updated information on how to protect their newborn from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) under a new law spearheaded by State Representative Tom Bennett.

Bennett’s measure, signed into law Thursday as PA 99-0048, ensures that the materials on SIDS prevention new parents receive at the hospital will include information developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics or a statewide or nationally recognized SIDS or medical association.

“Each year we learn more about SIDS, including how best to prevent it. It’s crucial that new parents leave the hospital armed with the most up-to-date and reliable information available on how they can protect their newborns,” Representative Bennett said. “I’m very happy that my first bill signed into law may help save a baby’s life.”