Rep. Bunting’s Springfield news update for April 12

In this issue:

  • State budget development underway
  • Changes to tipped-wage law in Illinois could hurt businesses, workers and customers
  • DCFS Director in town
  • Illinois headlines

State budget development underway

For the last several weeks the House’s five appropriations committees have been meeting and hearing from state agencies and other interested parties about what is going to be required for this year’s state budget. I serve on one of these committees, the Appropriations-Health and Human Services committee, which met again this week. We need to pass a balanced budget that spends taxpayer money responsibly while meeting the needs of the state residents.

Throughout the budget-making process we receive ongoing updates from the state’s fiscal monitoring agency about how much revenue we have to work with, where that revenue is coming from, and whether it is likely to increase or decrease. This month we learned that Illinois’ revenue growth came from only two sources: federal funds from Washington DC and revenue collected from personal income taxes.

All the state’s other sources of revenue fell by $58 million compared with the same month last year. These sources include corporate income taxes, energy taxes, and taxes on such products as cigarettes and liquor. But the gain from federal funds and personal income taxes was enough to push the overall amount of revenue up for the month by $413 million compared with one year ago.

The report was included in a presentation made to the House Revenue and Finance Committee which told legislators to be prepared for an overall decline in state revenue in the future.

The new fiscal year begins on July 1.

Changes to tipped-wage law in Illinois could hurt workers, businesses and customers

I have been hearing from small businesses in our district who are concerned about legislation which passed a House committee last week to change wages for tipped workers across Illinois. It would potentially have a very negative impact on both workers and small business owners.

House Bill 5345 amends the state’s minimum wage law to require all businesses which employ tipped workers to pay a $15 per hour wage beginning next year. Currently businesses are allowed to pay a lower wage if employees are able to make up the difference with the tips they receive.

The bill was opposed by the Illinois Retail Merchants’ Association which warned about the turmoil it would cause in the service industry, leading to cuts of good-paying jobs and even putting some small businesses at the risk of closure. Illinoisans who are already paying higher prices for most things they buy would likely see even high prices at some establishments to offset the higher labor costs.

We need to be encouraging businesses to grow and create jobs, not placing additional burdens on them which will cause them to cut jobs or run the risk of closing altogether.

The bill passed committee and will now be considered on the House floor.

DCFS Director in town

We had the honor to tour Nexus-Onarga Family Healing with the new Director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Heidi Mueller and other legislators on Monday afternoon.

We ended the day at the Cornerstone Café & Gallery having conversation with coffee and delicious freshly baked cookies!

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 $1,161,776,965. This figure changes daily. Last year at this time the state had $3.8 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.

Illinois headlines

Cashless bail fails: six months of diminished public safety

Illinois spring trout fishing season now open

Number receiving Invest in Kids scholarships soared in program’s final year

Illinois Wesleyan University names Dr. Sheahon Zenger 21st President

Growing costs of non-citizens on Illinois taxpayers

IDPH updates its list on where it’s safe to eat fish caught in state waters

Take the 106th District legislative survey today!