In this issue:
- Share your thoughts on ethics reform
- SWCD legislation passes
- State revenue was down last month
- Illinois headlines
Thank you for reading my e-newsletter. For the latest news from state government or to share your ideas and opinions, please visit my legislative website at repbunting.com.
Take the ethics reform survey
Last week four associates of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan were found guilty at a corruption trial in Chicago. The prosecutors alleged that the four engaged in a bribery conspiracy with Madigan which involved the hiring of Madigan-connected individuals in exchange for certain legislation passing into law. Madigan is set to stand trial next April.
These guilty verdicts are the latest in a long line of corruption indictments, convictions and guilty pleas in Illinois over the last several years. This kind of corruption does not serve the people well and it makes our state a laughingstock for the rest of the country.
Do you believe that we need to improve the ethical climate in Springfield? Would you like to see tighter ethics laws that empower investigators, create transparency, stop lawmakers from also serving as lobbyists and prevent corruption?
If so, click here to take our short Ethics Survey and let your opinions be known.
Bill to promote SWCDs passes House
This week I was proud to pass my first bill, a piece of legislation to help our Soil and Water Conservation Districts. SB 2325 will allow an SWCD to request that IDOT install a sign related to the district on an existing or new IDOT sign post or pole, as long as the SWCD pays for the reasonable cost of manufacturing the sign. This is a great way to promote the good work that SWCDs do throughout our state.
The bill passed the House unanimously. It has already passed the Senate, so it is now on its way to the Governor for his signature.
State revenue was down last month
April is the deadline for filing taxes, and so it gives us a good indication of how much tax revenue the state is likely to have to work with when putting together the budget. This year, the April figures were down compared to a year ago.
Revenue was down by more than $1.8 billion compared to April 2022. The decline will have a significant effect on the overall revenue figures for this year. If this trend continues, the state will have just enough money to meet its current spending commitments for the upcoming fiscal year.
Unfortunately, many of the spending commitments the state has made are already on the rise, and without as much revenue to meet the demands it puts the state budget in a tricky position. As we move into the closing days of session and work to pass a balanced budget, we are going to have to make tough decisions and get our spending under control.
The state cannot keep spending money that we do not have.
Our current bill backlog
When a vendor provides the state with goods and services, they submit the bill to the Illinois Comptroller for payment. The Comptroller processes the paperwork and pays the bill when funds are available in the state’s checking account. Currently the total amount of unpaid bills is $876,447,700. This figure changes daily. Last year at this time the state had $2.0 billion in bills awaiting payment. This only includes bills submitted to the Comptroller for payment, not unfunded debts like the state’s pension liability, which is well over $100 billion.