CHICAGO - Non transportation-related capital projects would be put on hold by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration if a budget impasse can't be bridged by the start of the new fiscal year in two weeks.
Rauner laid out new measures that cut a wide swath across the state to save $420 million, according to a statement from the GOP governor's administration on June 12. They come on top of $400 million in savings expected from a previous round of announced cuts and other management steps being undertaken or planned for July 1.
Rauner is locked in a battle with the General Assembly's Democratic leaders over the $36.3 billion they pushed through the legislature late last month. It's between $3 billion and $4 billion short of needed revenue. Rauner proposed a $32 billion budget and won't consider tax increases to offset the need for cuts unless Democrats support his proposals for a local property tax freeze, tort reforms, worker's compensation reforms, and constitutional amendments for term limits and redistricting changes. The leaders have so far refused to support those proposals in the form demanded by Rauner.
"Gov. Rauner has compromised repeatedly, but Speaker [Michael] Madigan and the politicians he controls continue to block any real reform," Rauner spokesman Lance Trover said.
The second round of cuts and management steps include the suspension of capital projects, including construction at state facilities, schools and colleges as of July 1, with the exception Department of Transportation projects. The state will also suspend all capital grants for legislators' earmarks.
The state will reduce the use of outside legal counsel by eliminating and/or reducing legal contracts. Other measures the state will begin taking immediately include rolling back rates for ambulance services and renal care services, the reduction of managed care capitation rates, and the discontinuation of special Medicaid payments to some hospitals.
Beginning on July 1, the state will suspend funding to county fairs for premiums and fairground rehabilitation projects, suspend funding for agricultural extension and 4-H clubs for premiums at agricultural shows, and halt funding to the Soil and Water Conservation Districts. The state also will suspend funding to Choose Chicago for tourism promotion.
The state will put on hold funds for the Chicago Fire Department training program, suspend reimbursements for fire department training to other local governments, and suspend funding for small fire-fighting and ambulance equipment grants.
Legislative earmarks being suspended cover bullying prevention grants; drug addiction programs, the South Suburban Major Crimes Taskforce, and funding for Operation CeaseFire.
The state will suspend funding for Community Services for juvenile delinquency program serving youth and young adults administered by the Chicago Area Project. The state plans for the Tobacco Quitline and reduce funding for some job training programs.
The state will reduce funding for Amtrak and suspend subsidies for Regional Transportation Authority Reduced Fares grant on July 1. Funding for some programs administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority will be lowered on July 1 and the opening of the Chicago Veteran's Home will be delayed.