rebuilding the illinois financial situation

Over the past two years, House Republicans have been fighting for solutions to our state's financial woes. We have brought forward numerous proposals that, in aggregate, would go a long way towards bringing our state back into fiscal solvency while rebuilding the faith that has been lost in state government. Many of these ideas came from suggestions posted by constituents on our Reinvent Illinois website, www.reinventIllinois.com.

There is no doubt that the state of Illinois is in a financial crisis, and most would agree that a multi-faceted approach needs to be taken in order to meet this crisis. This borrowing scheme, however, is not a multifaceted approach. It is a shortsighted attempt to save political face in what supporters themselves admit is merely treading water.

Below is a sample of these proposals, and remember that none of these proposals were afforded the opportunity for debate.

Government Savings

HB 4800 (Black) - Requires the Executive Ethics Commission to adopt rules for the use of and travel on State aircraft that supersede any such rules applicable to the executive branch of State government adopted by the State's various travel control boards or the Travel Regulation Council. Provides that 3 executive aircraft and 2 helicopters owned by the State and not designated for emergency use are surplus property and must be sold by a competitive sealed bid method.

HB 5488 (Mitchell, B.) - Provides that all but one airplane and one helicopter owned by the State and not designated for emergency use are surplus property and must be sold by a competitive sealed bid method.

HB 6269 (Connelly) - Requires PAYGO budgeting to provide that if a Public Act requires additional spending from State funds, then no appropriation for the additional spending required by the Public Act may be obligated or expended unless the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability certifies to the State Comptroller that the same or another Public Act specifically identifies adequate decreases in expenditures or enhancements in revenues to completely offset the additional spending required by the Public Act.

HB 6870 (Black) Prohibits assignment of State-owned automotive vehicles to the General Assembly for use by legislative leaders, members, or staff. Requires the sale of any such automotive vehicles, with the proceeds deposited into the General Revenue Fund.

HB 6872 (Bassi) Means Testing for Senior Free Rides. Requires that seniors must be aged 65 or older, as well as eligible for benefits under the Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons Property Tax Relief and Pharmaceutical Assistance Act, to receive free service. Provides that the requirement must be imposed no later than 180 days after the effective date of the amendatory Act. Provides that the Department on Aging shall furnish all information necessary to establish eligibility for free service.

HB 6873 (Sacia) Amends the Compensation Review Act. For fiscal year 2011, reduces by 10% the annual compensation of (i) directors, secretaries, assistant directors, and assistant secretaries of State agencies under the Governor's jurisdiction and (ii) compensated members of State boards and commissions under the Governor's jurisdiction.

HB 6875 (Coulson) By July 1, 2010, requires each State agency to develop, and file with its chief procurement officer, a plan for the renegotiation of its procurement contracts.

HB 6877 (Durkin) Amends the Counties Code. Rolls back the Cook County sales tax from 1.25% to 0.75%. This would reverse the 2008 sales tax increase. As of May 2010 the Chicago total sales tax is 10.25%, the highest sales tax rate charged in any major U.S. jurisdiction.

HR 109 (Black) Urges the Governor to suspend all out-of-state travel for the remainder of FY09, to meet with the Department of Central Management Services, Department of Revenue, and the Auditor General to determine what other expenses could be reduced for the remainder of FY09, and to consult with the Illinois Department of Transportation's Division of Aeronautics to further limit the use of executive aircraft and/or explore the sale of said aircraft.

HR 423 (Black) Instructs the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability to study the actual costs associated the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Division of Aeronautics Bureau of Air Operation's Springfield-Chicago and Chicago-Springfield shuttle service and additional flight services provided upon request of State employees and officials, and perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether such air transportation services are an efficient use of State revenue.

HR 1218 (Leitch) Urges the Governor to reopen collective bargaining agreements to remove pay increases for State employees in FY11.

Government Accountability

HB 570 (Mulligan) - Requires the Governor's budget to include projections of revenues and expenditures for the 5 following fiscal years, and requires the budget for the next fiscal year to set forth new or expanded expenditures of $1 million or more.

HB 1173 (Hatcher) - Creates the Agency Appropriation Act to require separate legislative bills for appropriations to each State agency.

HB 4095 (Cross) - With respect to fiscal year appropriations, requires the General Assembly to take into account (i) whether the previous fiscal year's revenues were sufficient to pay for all obligations incurred during that fiscal year or whether those obligations were shifted to future years and (ii) whether revenues for the budgeted fiscal year can be reasonably projected to meet appropriations for the budgeted fiscal year.

HB 6622 (Reboletti) Provides that members of the General Assembly, State's attorneys, the elected constitutional officers of State government, and certain appointed officers of State government are prohibited from receiving and shall not receive any increase in compensation that would otherwise apply based on a cost of living adjustment, as authorized by Senate Joint Resolution 192 of the 86th General Assembly, for or during the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2010. Deletes a provision stating that the cost of living adjustment shall apply beginning July 1, 2010 and thereafter.

HB 6625 (Senger) Requires members of the General Assembly to take 12 furlough days in FY11.

Medicaid Accountability/Efficiency/Social Services Reform

HB 389 (Sacia) requires a drug test for initial eligibility for programs under the Illinois Public Aid Code (this would include TANF and Medicaid).

HB 4809 (Rose) requires LINK cards to have a picture of the cardholders face. Adds language requiring the Department of Human Services to issue a caregiver identification card to the facility provider, guardian, or caregiver of a person entitled to benefits funded under the federal Food Stamp Program

HB 5244 (Bellock) Establishes a Medicaid oversight committee within COGFA to report to the General Assembly on the status of the Illinois Medicaid Program and other state administered medical programs and to provide continued oversight of such programs.

HB 5544 (Cavaletto) requires LINK cards to have a picture of the cardholders face. Establishes that an individual may only use the LINK card if the photo on the card matches the user or if they present a current and valid photo identification that confirms they are a secondary user listed on the card.

HB 5893 (Mitchell,B) Requires at least a minimal co-payment for the filling of all prescriptions, including Generic medications.

HB 6139 (Rose) provides that the Department of Human Services shall enter into an agreement with the Illinois State Police (ISP) to allow DHS's database of public aid recipients to cross-reference with ISP's database of outstanding criminal warrants.

Further provides that public aid recipients who are found to have an outstanding criminal warrant shall be subject to an immediate suspension of their public aid benefits, including the immediate deactivation of their electronic benefits card or LINK card provided under the food stamp program.

HB 6146 (Rose) requires a drug test for initial eligibility for programs under the Illinois Public Aid Code (this would include TANF and Medicaid).Exempts Individuals who are 65 years of age or older and residents of a facility licensed under the Nursing Home Care Act or the MR/DD Community Care Act.

HB 6265 (Cole) Ends the practice of pushing off Medicaid bills into the next fiscal year.

HB 6277 (Bellock) Amendment #1 was filed to require HFS to implement a mandatory Medicaid managed care program for individuals in All Kids and FamilyCare. Amendment #1 was not released from the House Rules Committee.

HB 6296 (Bellock) Place asset limitations on enrollees in all programs receiving medical assistance funds to help focus the program on the most vulnerable.

HB 6876 (Tryon) Amends the Covering All Kids Health Insurance Act. Within 90 days of the enactment of these provisions, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, in cooperation with the Department of Human Services, shall develop and implement procedures in administration of the All Kids program to: (1) Require applicants to provide proof of birth, for example but not limited to providing a birth certificate, to prove the age of the applicant; (2) Provide documentation to prove identity of applicant (this requirement refers to proving applicant's identity, not immigration status); (3) Provide documentation proving residency of the applicant; (4) Develop a procedure to provide evidence of the documented status of documented immigrants; (5) Cross reference income reported by applicants at the time of original application or renewal to other state records, including Department of Employment Security data or tax records; (6) Require all enrollees to return an annual redetermination to verify that there were no changes to their eligibility information; and (7) Require termination of coverage if the premium for an enrollee is not paid by the end of the month of coverage.

HB 6879 (Bellock) Requires the use of 30 days of income data instead of just one paycheck.

HB 6880 (Tracy) Provisions provide for an income cap of 300% FPL ($66,150 for a family of four) and also require enrollees to notify HFS of any change in access to employer sponsored health insurance.

Government Efficiencies

HB 4622 (Pritchard) Offers a tax amnesty to fund college financial aid.

HB 5541 (Cavaletto) Provides that all hiring of employees and contracting for personal services by State agencies is frozen, and no expenditure may be made for the purpose of creating a new State program or expanding an existing State program, until the State Comptroller certifies in writing to the Secretary of State that payment is issued to all State vendors within 30 days after receipt of a proper bill or invoice.

HB 6270 (Tryon) Creates the General Accounting Office as a legislative support services agency. Directs the ILGAO to conduct a thorough review of each State executive branch program and agency.

Government Sunshine

HB 474 (Winters) - Creates the 72-Hour Budget Review Act, which sets forth time requirements for which certain appropriation or revenue legislation must be made publicly available before passage.

HB 828 (Black) - Creates the Appropriation Sunshine Act to provide that a bill making an appropriation may not be considered for final passage by either the House of Representatives or the Senate unless a copy of that bill, in its final form, has been made available on the General Assembly's Internet website for at least 48 hours before the bill is considered for final passage by that chamber.

HB 4771 (Pritchard) - Provides that, before final passage in either chamber of the General Assembly, a bill with fiscal impact, in its final form, must have been posted on the General Assembly's Internet website for at least 5 business days.

HB 5212 (Tryon) Adopts the Truth-in Accounting principals. Prohibits the General Assembly from passing appropriation bills until it adopts a joint resolution reflecting for that fiscal year the State's estimated income, balance sheet, cash flow, and surplus, or deficit.

HB 6626 (Schmitz) Requires the budget to be posted online for seven days prior to a General Assembly vote.

HR 1057 (Bellock) Directs the Auditor General to conduct a forensic audit of all State spending, hiring, procurement, and contracts awarded and the appointment of board and commission officials and decisions made by boards and commissions or those with procurement or hiring authority during the Blagojevich administration. Provides for an oversight commission of members of the House of Representatives.

HJR 112 (Tryon) Adopts the revenue estimates released on March 16, 2010 by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability as the funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during FY11 for purposes of the constitutional limit on appropriations.

Job Creation

HB 4659 (Mitchell, B) Utilizes our existing unemployment insurance program to enable employees to share their work and avoid layoffs.

HB 4777 (Moffitt) Amends the Sales Tax Acts. Provides that, for a period of 10 years beginning on the effective date of the amendatory Act, new flexible fuel vehicles, as defined in provisions of the Alternate Fuels Act, new hybrid vehicles, and new electric vehicles are exempt from sales taxation under the Acts.

HB 4943 (Bassi) Creates a grant fund to attract small employers to Illinois, and to encourage job creation by existing Illinois small businesses.

HB 5199 (Cavaletto) Increases the jobs tax credit for a trade or business located in an enterprise zone to $2,500 for each eligible employee hired to work in the enterprise zone (now, $500). This jobs tax credit creates an incentive to create new jobs.

HB 5484 (Kosel) Tort-reform bill. Establishes requirements for qualifications of "expert" witnesses and limits the testimony of non-experts and sets the same standards for admissibility of expert testimony as is the accepted practice in federal courts.

HB 5793 (Tracy) Tort-reform bill. Prevents "venue shopping." If no defendants are residents of Illinois, a lawsuit may only be filed in this state in the county in which the cause of action arose, or in which some part of that transaction occurred.

HB 5794 (Tracy) Tort-reform bill. Requires a court to determine that a proposed class action is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy in question.

HB 5795 (Stephens) Tort-reform bill. Establishes proportionate liability requiring each defendant to pay damages based on its degree of fault, rather than requiring any single defendant to pay all or most of the damages. Abolishes joint and several liability.

HB 5796 (Stephens) Re-enacts key provisions of the State's Code of Civil Procedure tort reform law of 1995. This law capped awards for pain and suffering at $500,000, and separately capped punitive damages at no more than three times economic damages. The state Supreme Court struck down the 1995 tort reform law in 1997.

HB 5797 (Reboletti) Tort-reform bill. Clarifies that the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act does not apply to damages for conduct resulting in bodily injury, death, or damage to property other than the property that is the subject of the practice claimed to be unlawful.

HB 5798 (Cross) Tort-reform bill. Creates the Full and Fair Non-economic Damages Act, which establishes guidelines for the fact finder in determining non-economic damages, compensatory damages, and punitive damages. Establishes a post-trial review of the non-economic damages awarded. Requires the appellate court to use the "de novo" standard of review.

HB 5805 (Mathias) Enacts the Illinois Emergency Economic Development Act. Creates a subsidized wages and job-training program to offset the cost to companies who create new jobs for unemployed workers.

HB 5806 (Senger) Expands the EDGE Tax Credit from corporate income, to corporate income plus withheld employee income, for companies who create jobs with benefits.

HB 5807 (Reis) Offers a 30% state tax credit to attract wind turbine manufacturers to Illinois.

HB 5808 (Hatcher) Creates the Manufacturing Job Destination Tax Credit Act. Provides for an income tax credit of 25% of the Illinois labor expenditures made by a manufacturing company in order to foster job creation and retention in Illinois.

HB 5809 (Mathias) Amends the Income Tax Act to extend the carryback and carryover periods for net losses by an additional 5 years, from 20 to 25 years.

HB 5810 (Mathias) Creates the Green Energy Business Act. Offers property tax incentives for new or expanded renewable energy businesses.

HB 5811 (Black) Creates the Employ Illinois Job Renewal Act. Provides tax incentives to companies who locate in rural areas with high unemployment (Job Renewal Zones).

HB 5812 (Senger) Re-enacts and expands the training expense credit as incentive to employers to train and retrain employees.

HB 6086 (Reis) Expands the number of enterprise zones in Illinois from 95 to 145. Enterprise zones offer companies a mix of state and local incentives for locating or expanding within the zone.

HB 6159 (Reis) Limits workers' compensation to instances where the underlying injury was the direct result of work preformed on the job, and denies workers' compensation to an employee found to be under the influence of alcohol or narcotic drugs when injured.

HB 6275 (Mathias) Increases compensation for jurors and makes jury service more tolerable by providing opportunities to reschedule services.

HB 6858 (Schmitz) Allows for the extensions of Enterprise Zones for an additional 20 years upon application by the corporate authorities of the county or municipality that designated the Enterprise Zone.

HB 6861 (Cross) Provides that the Research & Development Tax credit is not subject to the automatic sunset.

This list in lengthy to be sure, but as you can see, the Republicans have a plan for restoring the Illinois economy.

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