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Budget – FY16 Nears End
Fiscal Year 2016 nears its end without a budget. FY16 will reach its end on June 30th, when the State of Illinois will possibly go an entire fiscal year without a budget. Subsection 2b of Article VIII of the Constitution of Illinois requires the General Assembly to annually enact a balanced budget.
In an effort to improve public safety and reduce incidences of gun violence in Illinois, a bipartisan group of lawmakers has filed legislation that will help keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who have been deemed a public safety threat, have made threats of terrorism, or have been charged with an act of terrorism. The bill was unveiled at a press conference held at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago on Thursday.
"No matter how this session unfolds, send that education bill to my desk -- CLEAN -- NO GAMES -- and I'll sign it immediately," -- Governor Bruce Rauner, February 17, 2016

"Before we appropriate money for education for next year, (which) starts July 1, we have to fix this formula," -- Senate President John Cullerton, January 25, 2016

Since taking office, I've made educating all children in Illinois my top priority. Since February, I've called on the General Assembly to pass a clean education funding bill to ensure our schools open on time this fall with full funding for the first time in seven years.

Read Governor Rauner's letter to the editor in the Daily Herald.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin has filed two emergency spending bills that will allow all schools to open on time and also ensure that critical budget areas like universities and colleges, the correctional system and other vital service areas of government are funded through the end of the year.

These bills, HB 6583 and HB 6585, are balanced. Neither would add a cent of debt to the state of Illinois.

The stopgap, HB 6583, would allow every Illinois school district to be fully funded at 100 percent of the foundation level for the first time since 2012. Additionally, the bill holds harmless those school districts including Chicago Public Schools that would lose state funding in 2017 due to rising property values along with a decline in poverty. But most importantly, it removes K-12 schoolchildren from the crossfire of the larger budget impasse.

Read the rest of Represenative Ron Sandack's letter to the editor in the Daily Herald.

Budget – Bond Sale
Illinois sells $550 million in bonds for transportation and infrastructure. Banks that bought the debt, which was sold on Thursday, June 16, demanded a much higher interest rate than they charge to other U.S. states. The package of bonds, which bear maturity dates from 1 to 25 years from the present date, were sold at prices that created an average interest cost of Illinois taxpayers of 3.74%. While that number may seem low, it was far higher than the rate charged by the market against other borrowers in the current environment of global rock-bottom rates on fixed-income investments. For example, with respect to a benchmark 10-year bond that was part of this week’s underwriting package, Illinois was required to pledge to pay an interest rate that was 185 basis points (1.85%) higher than the interest rate currently paid by AAA-rated borrowers.
Reacting to the official notice that State Rep. John Anthony (R-Joliet) is resigning his position as State Representative of the 75th District, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) today is praising Anthony for his service and accomplishments.

“When John was appointed in August of 2013 he immediately hit the ground running and was able to accomplish much in a very short time frame. A former law enforcement officer, John quickly became a go-to guy on issues related criminal justice and corrections. His expertise and insight on these matters will be missed.”  
Budget – Ratings Cut

Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s cut Illinois credit rating one notch. The Moody’s Investors Service ratings cut, from Baa3 to Baa2, together with the Standard & Poor’s ratings downgrade to BBB-plus, brings Illinois one notch closer to “junk bond” status. As Illinois’ credit rating declines, Illinois taxpayers must pay higher interest rates. In addition, the State faces the prospect of substantial supplemental penalties should credit ratings further decline, with borrowing covenant clauses in effect in which the State promised to lenders who have already lent the State money that it would maintain the value of its debt at investment-grade levels.