Many suburban and Downstate school superintendents are issuing statements of support for the push, led by Governor Rauner, to eliminate some of the more than 100 unfunded mandates imposed by Springfield on local school districts and their taxpayers. For example, last week St. Clair County Regional Superintendent of Schools Susan Sarfaty agreed that these unfunded mandates are costing her schools money not provided for in these districts’ property-tax-funded budgets.
Unfunded mandates targeted by the Rauner push include required drivers’ education, for which schools are supposed to be reimbursed by fees paid by pupils but often are not; daily physical education; and restrictions on school districts contracting out needed non-educational services, such as janitorial work, to the private sector. The Rauner “Turnaround Illinois” property tax relief measure, sponsored by House Republican leadership in the General Assembly as HB 4247, includes language specifically aimed at repealing barriers to use of third-party contractors for budget savings. House Democrats have so far failed to release HB 4247 from the Rules Committee for discussion and debate.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced Monday that his office will suspend mailing out vehicle registration renewal reminder notices to the public due to the lack of a state budget.
White noted that by suspending this service, which will save approximately $450,000 per month, his office will be able to prolong the ability to mail vehicle registration renewal stickers, titles and license plates to vehicle owners for a few months longer before the postage account is depleted.
“The lack of a Fiscal Year 2016 budget is adversely impacting the Secretary of State’s office, and threatens to jeopardize the services we provide to the public,” said White. “Without a state budget in place, we are doing what we can to manage so that we may serve the people of Illinois for as long as possible. As a result, difficult decisions like suspending renewal reminder notice mailings are decisions we are being forced to make.”
White encouraged vehicle owners to be mindful of their vehicle registration status to ensure they renew in a timely manner and avoid driving on expired vehicle stickers. He also emphasized that more vehicle owners will be forced to visit facilities to renew their vehicle registration stickers because without a reminder notice they will not have a pin number needed to renew online. However, people who have signed up to receive electronic reminder notices will continue to receive them by email. To sign up for this service, please visit www.cyberdriveillinois.com.
Although Illinois is close to ending its third month without a spending plan for the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2015, the House session this week did not show any signs of progress. On Thursday, Democrats on the House Executive Committee passed a $3.8 billion spending bill without specifying a funding source for the monies pledged by the committee to be spent.
While the House committee’s action cleared SB 2046 for further action on the House floor, the lack of real negotiations on the State budget mean that spending bills of this type are seen by close observers of Springfield as less than serious. The full House did not take up SB 2046 for debate this week, and did not discuss an overall spending plan or budget agreement. Gov. Rauner has stated his intent to veto this and other piecemeal budget bills that would overspend anticipated revenues by billions of dollars.
The Pew Charitable Trusts has conducted a nonpartisan survey of states with ongoing challenges in crafting a budget for fiscal year 2016. They have found that, in states other than Illinois, substantial progress has been made. Alabama and Massachusetts, after extensive wrangling, have achieved compromise budgets for the 2016 fiscal year. The budgets of New Hampshire and North Carolina, after being caught in policy-related impasses, have been signed into law. In Illinois’ neighboring state of Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker has signed a two-year budget.
The Pew Charitable Trusts pointed to two states, Illinois and Pennsylvania, as examples of ongoing budget showdowns “with no end in sight.”
The report, issued on Monday, September 21, responds to and provides background for Illinois’ slow recovery from the 2008-14 economic downturn.
The Reboot Illinois report traced job creation over a five-year period covering much of the downturn, from June 2009 through June 2014. During this five-year span, the Prairie State ranked 42nd among the 50 states for job creation since June 2009. Illinois increased its job positions by 3.0% during this recession-affected time period. During the same span of time, jobs in Wisconsin increased by 4.4%, the same numbers in Iowa increased by 5.0%, Kentuckians saw 5.1% more positions during the five-year period, and the number of jobs during the same period in Indiana increased by 7.8%.
Like many companies today, your workforce priorities and challenges have changed in recent years. Before, employees may have flocked to a company like yours and stayed for decades, but now you may struggle to recruit high-skilled workers or retain your employees for long-term employment. Meanwhile, some of your employees commute long distances, contributing to tardiness and stress. It doesn’t have to be that way.
You are invited to attend an informational session to learn how you can help your employees live closer to work, increase your retention rates and set your company apart as a competitive employer in your field. This free session is brought to you by local and regional organizations committed to making home buying affordable, stabilizing local workforces and strengthening communities.
Network with other top employers in the area, hear from the mayors of the communities of Batavia, Geneva, North Aurora, and St. Charles-Mayor Schielke, Mayor Burns, Mayor Berman, and Mayor Rogina- and learn how Employer-Assisted Housing (EAH) can transform your workforce and the communities surrounding your company.
We hope that you can join us for this informational session. For more information about EAH see the attached frequently asked questions.