OUR VIEW: New budget just one small step

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The new budget approved by Illinois lawmakers kind of makes us feel like we just found out the broken ankle we thought we had is only sprained.

It was imperative that a budget get passed. But we’re lukewarm to the details.

No one likes a tax increase. Illinoisans as individuals and through businesses alike will pay more under this new budget. True, at this point, we never thought the state would — or will — get out of its seemingly black hole of debt without a tax increase. But it’s grudgingly that we accept that it is necessary.

We’re encouraged to see spending cuts as part of the deal, too — some $3 billion in cuts, noted Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza on Thursday as she made stops in Coles County.

We offer a pat on the back to state Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, and state Rep. Reggie Phillips, R-Charleston, for doing what they had to do and voting in favor of this budget — albeit a highly imperfect one. The passage of the measure was vital to pulling the publicly funded Eastern Illinois University off of life support, and both did right by their constituents as they cast “yes” votes for a budget and, therefore, said “yes” to supporting arguably this region’s No. 1 economic driver.

The cost of losing the university for this area would be far higher than the tax increases included in the state budget.

Yet we do wonder if we’d feel the same way if, for example, EIU was in good financial shape despite being starved by the state and it was another public university almost withered on the vine. Instead of tepid praise for the new budget, would we instead opine that state universities simply must tighten their belts more and somehow make it through a little longer?

We can’t answer that question.

But we do know that we aren’t happy with this budget. It does not go nearly far enough to reform the way that Illinois does business in order to fix these financial problems for the long term.

The state must have spending reforms, more cuts and more fiscal discipline to get out of its deficit spending habit and, someday, reach what should be the norm: a budget in the black.

One of the biggest problems with this budget is that we fear we will be right back in this same position again next year: lawmakers deadlocked on budget details and facing a deadline they may not make.

Now is the time for state legislators to get to work on that budget so that this state does not go without a spending plan for next year or any other year to come. We cannot stress enough that reforms must be made and spending cuts put in place to push Illinois toward a balanced budget.

“It’s not going to go away overnight,” Mendoza told the JG-TC Editorial Board on Thursday about the backlog of state bills. Interest on Illinois debt piles up to the tune of $2 million per day right now, she said.

Although the new budget does include some pension reform, as Mendoza noted, we believe that more is needed as part of a comprehensive plan to fix this state’s financial footing.

The unfortunate tax increase that all Illinoisans will endure had better be a good investment in the future of this state. But this budget is just one step in getting the state back on the right track. We expect — no, demand — more spending cuts and serious reforms going forward.

If not, Illinois is in for a world of hurt yet to come.

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July 15, 2017 at 01:09AM

OUR VIEW: New budget just one small step

OUR VIEW: Lawmakers, governors must keep working on solutions

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THE ISSUE: New state budget gives IVCC some stability

OUR VIEW: Predictability comes at a cost

On Thursday night, Illinois Valley Community College President Jerry Corcoran told the college’s trustees a recently ratified — through extreme measures — state budget delivers supplemental funding as the college closes out the fiscal year. And although appropriations for fiscal 2018 are down 10 percent, at least there’s stability and predictability, something all bodies that rely on state appropriations have struggled with for far too long as Illinois’ executive and legislative branches engaged in bitter standoffs.

That stability and predictability comes at a price. The individual income tax rate is now 4.95 percent, up from 3.75 percent. Corporations now pay 7 percent instead of 5.25 percent. The new rates are retroactive to July 1 of this year, which means the next paycheck you see will include less new pay. But don’t expect anything you need to buy to cost less.

Some camps oppose any tax increase whatsoever. Others feel the state needs even more revenue than it just allowed itself to properly operate a fully functional government. In trying to advocate both for our readers as individuals, as well as the public institutions that provide services that address immediate needs and also help position the state for long-term success, it’s been difficult to carve out positions sensitive to all parties.

This attempt at balance surfaced at the IVCC meeting, where trustee David Mallery suggested the district take the money that finished off fiscal 2017 and use it to lower tax rates as well as holding off on a tuition increase. Faculty union leader Steve Alvin responded by pointing out the $2.5 million the state released isn’t new money, just a deferred disbursal. And knowing already the future financial outlook isn’t bright, holding off on a tuition hike could hamper the school’s ability to hire enough faculty to actually offer its full course catalog.

These kind of decisions face officials throughout Illinois. These elected and hired officials are trying to operate their schools, departments, agencies and so on to the best of their ability, and by and large the same people pay income taxes in Illinois. They know exactly why it is they have a little more stability for the next few months. Predictability comes from their paychecks as well.

That’s why the pressure remains on Springfield. Illinois has a budget, but it lacks a long-term plan. It hasn’t even been a decade since the last time the income tax spiked, and that didn’t solve our problems. Now that some folks from each party think they’ve made a bold step forward, they must remember that will only be true if they keep walking, together, toward reforms that deliver lasting stability for both tax-funded bodies as well as the residents and business who provide those funds as a condition of being here.

What those reforms actually look like remains to be seen. But we’re all aware of the current situation, and maintaining the status quo is not an option. So governor, lawmakers, get back to work. We’re all depending on you.

01-All No Sub,02-Pol,03-HL 20,04-Pens 2,12-Coll,16-Econ,HE Blog,HE Coalition,22-Talk

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July 14, 2017 at 09:03PM

OUR VIEW: Lawmakers, governors must keep working on solutions

OUR VIEW: Lawmakers, governors must keep working on solutions

http://ift.tt/2ujG5Dx

THE ISSUE: New state budget gives IVCC some stability

OUR VIEW: Predictability comes at a cost

On Thursday night, Illinois Valley Community College President Jerry Corcoran told the college’s trustees a recently ratified — through extreme measures — state budget delivers supplemental funding as the college closes out the fiscal year. And although appropriations for fiscal 2018 are down 10 percent, at least there’s stability and predictability, something all bodies that rely on state appropriations have struggled with for far too long as Illinois’ executive and legislative branches engaged in bitter standoffs.

That stability and predictability comes at a price. The individual income tax rate is now 4.95 percent, up from 3.75 percent. Corporations now pay 7 percent instead of 5.25 percent. The new rates are retroactive to July 1 of this year, which means the next paycheck you see will include less new pay. But don’t expect anything you need to buy to cost less.

Some camps oppose any tax increase whatsoever. Others feel the state needs even more revenue than it just allowed itself to properly operate a fully functional government. In trying to advocate both for our readers as individuals, as well as the public institutions that provide services that address immediate needs and also help position the state for long-term success, it’s been difficult to carve out positions sensitive to all parties.

This attempt at balance surfaced at the IVCC meeting, where trustee David Mallery suggested the district take the money that finished off fiscal 2017 and use it to lower tax rates as well as holding off on a tuition increase. Faculty union leader Steve Alvin responded by pointing out the $2.5 million the state released isn’t new money, just a deferred disbursal. And knowing already the future financial outlook isn’t bright, holding off on a tuition hike could hamper the school’s ability to hire enough faculty to actually offer its full course catalog.

These kind of decisions face officials throughout Illinois. These elected and hired officials are trying to operate their schools, departments, agencies and so on to the best of their ability, and by and large the same people pay income taxes in Illinois. They know exactly why it is they have a little more stability for the next few months. Predictability comes from their paychecks as well.

That’s why the pressure remains on Springfield. Illinois has a budget, but it lacks a long-term plan. It hasn’t even been a decade since the last time the income tax spiked, and that didn’t solve our problems. Now that some folks from each party think they’ve made a bold step forward, they must remember that will only be true if they keep walking, together, toward reforms that deliver lasting stability for both tax-funded bodies as well as the residents and business who provide those funds as a condition of being here.

What those reforms actually look like remains to be seen. But we’re all aware of the current situation, and maintaining the status quo is not an option. So governor, lawmakers, get back to work. We’re all depending on you.

01-All No Sub,02-Pol,03-HL 20,04-Pens 2,12-Coll,16-Econ,HE Blog,HE Coalition,22-Talk

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July 14, 2017 at 09:03PM

OUR VIEW: Lawmakers, governors must keep working on solutions

OUR VIEW: Lawmakers, governors must keep working on solutions

http://ift.tt/2ujG5Dx

THE ISSUE: New state budget gives IVCC some stability

OUR VIEW: Predictability comes at a cost

On Thursday night, Illinois Valley Community College President Jerry Corcoran told the college’s trustees a recently ratified — through extreme measures — state budget delivers supplemental funding as the college closes out the fiscal year. And although appropriations for fiscal 2018 are down 10 percent, at least there’s stability and predictability, something all bodies that rely on state appropriations have struggled with for far too long as Illinois’ executive and legislative branches engaged in bitter standoffs.

That stability and predictability comes at a price. The individual income tax rate is now 4.95 percent, up from 3.75 percent. Corporations now pay 7 percent instead of 5.25 percent. The new rates are retroactive to July 1 of this year, which means the next paycheck you see will include less new pay. But don’t expect anything you need to buy to cost less.

Some camps oppose any tax increase whatsoever. Others feel the state needs even more revenue than it just allowed itself to properly operate a fully functional government. In trying to advocate both for our readers as individuals, as well as the public institutions that provide services that address immediate needs and also help position the state for long-term success, it’s been difficult to carve out positions sensitive to all parties.

This attempt at balance surfaced at the IVCC meeting, where trustee David Mallery suggested the district take the money that finished off fiscal 2017 and use it to lower tax rates as well as holding off on a tuition increase. Faculty union leader Steve Alvin responded by pointing out the $2.5 million the state released isn’t new money, just a deferred disbursal. And knowing already the future financial outlook isn’t bright, holding off on a tuition hike could hamper the school’s ability to hire enough faculty to actually offer its full course catalog.

These kind of decisions face officials throughout Illinois. These elected and hired officials are trying to operate their schools, departments, agencies and so on to the best of their ability, and by and large the same people pay income taxes in Illinois. They know exactly why it is they have a little more stability for the next few months. Predictability comes from their paychecks as well.

That’s why the pressure remains on Springfield. Illinois has a budget, but it lacks a long-term plan. It hasn’t even been a decade since the last time the income tax spiked, and that didn’t solve our problems. Now that some folks from each party think they’ve made a bold step forward, they must remember that will only be true if they keep walking, together, toward reforms that deliver lasting stability for both tax-funded bodies as well as the residents and business who provide those funds as a condition of being here.

What those reforms actually look like remains to be seen. But we’re all aware of the current situation, and maintaining the status quo is not an option. So governor, lawmakers, get back to work. We’re all depending on you.

01-All No Sub,02-Pol,03-HL 20,04-Pens 2,12-Coll,16-Econ,HE Blog,HE Coalition,22-Talk

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July 14, 2017 at 09:03PM

OUR VIEW: Lawmakers, governors must keep working on solutions

OUR VIEW: Lawmakers, governors must keep working on solutions

http://ift.tt/2ujG5Dx

THE ISSUE: New state budget gives IVCC some stability

OUR VIEW: Predictability comes at a cost

On Thursday night, Illinois Valley Community College President Jerry Corcoran told the college’s trustees a recently ratified — through extreme measures — state budget delivers supplemental funding as the college closes out the fiscal year. And although appropriations for fiscal 2018 are down 10 percent, at least there’s stability and predictability, something all bodies that rely on state appropriations have struggled with for far too long as Illinois’ executive and legislative branches engaged in bitter standoffs.

That stability and predictability comes at a price. The individual income tax rate is now 4.95 percent, up from 3.75 percent. Corporations now pay 7 percent instead of 5.25 percent. The new rates are retroactive to July 1 of this year, which means the next paycheck you see will include less new pay. But don’t expect anything you need to buy to cost less.

Some camps oppose any tax increase whatsoever. Others feel the state needs even more revenue than it just allowed itself to properly operate a fully functional government. In trying to advocate both for our readers as individuals, as well as the public institutions that provide services that address immediate needs and also help position the state for long-term success, it’s been difficult to carve out positions sensitive to all parties.

This attempt at balance surfaced at the IVCC meeting, where trustee David Mallery suggested the district take the money that finished off fiscal 2017 and use it to lower tax rates as well as holding off on a tuition increase. Faculty union leader Steve Alvin responded by pointing out the $2.5 million the state released isn’t new money, just a deferred disbursal. And knowing already the future financial outlook isn’t bright, holding off on a tuition hike could hamper the school’s ability to hire enough faculty to actually offer its full course catalog.

These kind of decisions face officials throughout Illinois. These elected and hired officials are trying to operate their schools, departments, agencies and so on to the best of their ability, and by and large the same people pay income taxes in Illinois. They know exactly why it is they have a little more stability for the next few months. Predictability comes from their paychecks as well.

That’s why the pressure remains on Springfield. Illinois has a budget, but it lacks a long-term plan. It hasn’t even been a decade since the last time the income tax spiked, and that didn’t solve our problems. Now that some folks from each party think they’ve made a bold step forward, they must remember that will only be true if they keep walking, together, toward reforms that deliver lasting stability for both tax-funded bodies as well as the residents and business who provide those funds as a condition of being here.

What those reforms actually look like remains to be seen. But we’re all aware of the current situation, and maintaining the status quo is not an option. So governor, lawmakers, get back to work. We’re all depending on you.

01-All No Sub,02-Pol,03-HL 20,04-Pens 2,12-Coll,16-Econ,HE Blog,HE Coalition,22-Talk

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July 14, 2017 at 09:03PM

OUR VIEW: Lawmakers, governors must keep working on solutions

OUR VIEW: Lawmakers, governors must keep working on solutions

http://ift.tt/2ujG5Dx

THE ISSUE: New state budget gives IVCC some stability

OUR VIEW: Predictability comes at a cost

On Thursday night, Illinois Valley Community College President Jerry Corcoran told the college’s trustees a recently ratified — through extreme measures — state budget delivers supplemental funding as the college closes out the fiscal year. And although appropriations for fiscal 2018 are down 10 percent, at least there’s stability and predictability, something all bodies that rely on state appropriations have struggled with for far too long as Illinois’ executive and legislative branches engaged in bitter standoffs.

That stability and predictability comes at a price. The individual income tax rate is now 4.95 percent, up from 3.75 percent. Corporations now pay 7 percent instead of 5.25 percent. The new rates are retroactive to July 1 of this year, which means the next paycheck you see will include less new pay. But don’t expect anything you need to buy to cost less.

Some camps oppose any tax increase whatsoever. Others feel the state needs even more revenue than it just allowed itself to properly operate a fully functional government. In trying to advocate both for our readers as individuals, as well as the public institutions that provide services that address immediate needs and also help position the state for long-term success, it’s been difficult to carve out positions sensitive to all parties.

This attempt at balance surfaced at the IVCC meeting, where trustee David Mallery suggested the district take the money that finished off fiscal 2017 and use it to lower tax rates as well as holding off on a tuition increase. Faculty union leader Steve Alvin responded by pointing out the $2.5 million the state released isn’t new money, just a deferred disbursal. And knowing already the future financial outlook isn’t bright, holding off on a tuition hike could hamper the school’s ability to hire enough faculty to actually offer its full course catalog.

These kind of decisions face officials throughout Illinois. These elected and hired officials are trying to operate their schools, departments, agencies and so on to the best of their ability, and by and large the same people pay income taxes in Illinois. They know exactly why it is they have a little more stability for the next few months. Predictability comes from their paychecks as well.

That’s why the pressure remains on Springfield. Illinois has a budget, but it lacks a long-term plan. It hasn’t even been a decade since the last time the income tax spiked, and that didn’t solve our problems. Now that some folks from each party think they’ve made a bold step forward, they must remember that will only be true if they keep walking, together, toward reforms that deliver lasting stability for both tax-funded bodies as well as the residents and business who provide those funds as a condition of being here.

What those reforms actually look like remains to be seen. But we’re all aware of the current situation, and maintaining the status quo is not an option. So governor, lawmakers, get back to work. We’re all depending on you.

01-All No Sub,02-Pol,03-HL 20,04-Pens 2,12-Coll,16-Econ,HE Blog,HE Coalition,22-Talk

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July 14, 2017 at 09:03PM

OUR VIEW: Lawmakers, governors must keep working on solutions

ALESTLE VIEW: State budget approval is a breath of fresh air

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After two long years without a budget, both the state House and Senate voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto to finally pass an Illinois budget last week. 



As with many major political decisions, this one is coming with mixed reactions from citizens in Illinois, but overall, the ending of the budget impasse should be a considered a step in the right direction for the state.

One of the most important benefits to come from the new budget will be compensation for our public schools.

With the lack of budget, state schools including the SIU system have been suffering. The problem even went as far as SIU Carbondale borrowing money from SIUE to stay afloat. 

The budget has been one of the most talked-about topics within the administration of the schools, and it seems that our problems have been solved thanks to the new budget.

According to the office of Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton), the SIU System is appropriated $179.6 million. Although this funding is going to be a breath of fresh air in our school, the university needs to be certain it continues to properly allocate this money to ensure it is being used wisely.

While the budget may be good news for state schools, some Illinois citizens are upset to see that the budget will be covered by an income tax hike.

The tax increase was the reason Rauner vetoed the budget, and he has been very outspoken about how he does not think the state will benefit from it.

“This is a two-by-four smacked across the foreheads of the people of Illinois,” Rauner said. “This tax hike will solve none of our problems and in fact, [in the] long run, it’ll just make our problems worse.”

Thankfully, other state lawmakers understood that something needed to be done. Before the budget passed, Illinois was in horrible shape. The impasse was one of the longest in any state since the Great Depression, the state had about $15 billion in unpaid bills and it was on pace to be the first state with a junk credit rating.

We’re glad the state finally came together and figured out a plan. After two years of lacking one, it will certainly be good news for our schools and other state-funded organizations and programs over the next fiscal year.

Even though the impasse may be over, we need to continue discussing these political decisions with our peers. Make your voice heard if you have strong political opinions. Get out there.

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July 11, 2017 at 07:07PM

ALESTLE VIEW: State budget approval is a breath of fresh air