The Illinois House has agreed on a key part of the state budgeting process.
Tuesday The IL House adopted what it thinks will be the bottom line spending number for the state in the coming fiscal year. Southern Illinois State Representative John Bradley of Marion chairs the House Revenue Committee. He says the state will have about $34.5-Billion to spend next year. Bradley says the estimate does not take into account any possible savings from the pension reforms, as they are still in the court system. And he says it takes into account the law as it stands today, which is the beginning of the phase-out of the tax increase.
That's significant in several ways. The revenue estimate is about a billion less than last year's number, which means lawmakers are going to have extend the tax increase or find other sources of money, or they'll have to make a lot of cuts. On the other hand, it's not as bad as some people had feared. The House revenue estimate is important because it's been the dominant number in state budgeting in recent years.
Though Democrats and Republicans often disagree on the details of spending, both agreed Tuesday to this overall limit. Although the governor and the Senate can try using their own revenue estimates, in recent years the House has set the agenda for budgeting.
Governor Pat Quinn has delayed unveiling his own budget proposal until late next month. Quinn doesn't have to use the House estimate. But Bradley says the governor would be well served to abide by the number. The governor's budget address is scheduled for March 26.