Rich Miller: Trying to spend money that shouldn’t be

The repayment move was also deemed prudent by some because the newly “found” money was prompting a horde of spending requests from members, even though COGFA and GOMB both stressed that most of this revenue spike was one-time and would not recur in Fiscal Year 2022, which begins July 1.

Using the increased revenue to repay the federal loan, therefore, has the effect of short-circuiting that flood of new spending demands. It’s a fiscally smart move, which is not something that one can usually say about Illinois.

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But it’s not a done deal yet because quite a few Democratic legislators will be upset that they can’t tap into the new revenues to fund what they consider to be crucial programs.

Some are worried that immediate spending pressures will win out in the end and cause Democratic leadership to cave. House Higher Education Appropriations Committee Chair La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) was pretty firm last week, however, when asked his opinion about using state revenues to pay off federal debt.

Rep. Ford warned about both the state’s projected $1.3 billion deficit in the coming fiscal year and the absolute requirement to pay off the federal debt. He said both of those need to be addressed while also finding a way to “protect human services, public safety, education, and general services,” adding, “There is a path to fulfill all our obligations before the end of session.”

Columns,Region: Bloomington,City: Bloomington,Opinion,Region: Central

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May 21, 2021 at 06:52PM

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