State Policy Update
The Governor's fiscal year 2018 (FY18) state budget address was held on February 15th. You can view the budget address here and a copy of the budget here. Overall, the Governor’s FY18 proposed budget has approximately a $7.5 billion shortfall. Governor Rauner's suggestion in his budget address was for the General Assembly to work with him on proposed changes he suggests will plug up approximately $3 billion out of the $7.5 billion shortfall. The governor has indicated an openness to raise revenue to plug up some or all of the remaining shortfall in his proposed FY18 budget only if the IL general assembly agrees to his previously proposed structural reforms (AKA some of his "Turnaround Agenda" items.
EverThrive IL's position is that the state budget shortfall and backlog of unpaid bills, whether for FY16, FY17, or FY18, should be plugged through raising the necessary revenue in a responsible and fair way, as well as utilizing other mechanisms (such as state bonds) to pay down the state's $11.9 billion backlog of unpaid bills, without any non-budget related preconditions. After 21 months without a state budget and almost a decade of year over year cuts, all sectors of our state and especially health and human services, have endured more than their fair share of devastating state budget cuts.
Please visit our website to view the full memo, which details a preliminary analysis of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) proposed budget and provides an overarching view of important health and human service priorities within the Governor's proposed FY18 Illinois state budget. It also compares the funding levels in the Governor's FY18 proposed budget vs. "FY17 estimated maintenance budget," and when appropriate, the FY15 funding level (FY15 was the last time IL had a full state budget).
And last week, the Senate debated and voted on a number of bills in its bi-partisan budget compromise package (SBs 1-13, & SB16). If you recall, these bills were crafted and negotiated by the democrat and republican Senate leadership in an attempt to end the state budget stalemate. While SB6, the bill making appropriations for the 2nd half of fiscal year 2017 passed the Senate, SB9, the bill raising revenue in order to plug up at least a portion of the state's budget deficit, was not voted on. In the end, the Senate democratic leadership decided to stop the process of moving these bills out of the Senate stating that Governor Rauner's interference in the process has led to republican support for these bills evaporating. It's worth noting here that all the bills within the bi-partisan senate budget compromise package needed to pass out of the Senate, House and be signed by Governor Rauner in order for them to have become law (so if one bill of the bills failed, then the whole package would fail).
Lastly, attorney general Madigan’s motion to stop state workers' pay was denied two weeks ago, though she states she will appeal the court's decision. The attorney general's motion was to lift the court order requiring that state employees be paid despite there being no appropriation for that purpose. Madigan said she will appeal the judge’s ruling, noting that the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s constitution requires an enacted appropriation for state spending.
Federal Policy Update
EverThrive IL, along with a handful of consumer advocacy organizations, is a leading organizational member of the Protect Our Care Illinois Coalition, which officially launched its presence recently. Check out the Protect Our Care Illinois Coalition website and the Press Release and join us in this critical work, we need all hands on deck! Also, please follow the PoC IL Coalition on social media (see below).
The Protect Our Care Illinois Coalition responded with this statement in opposition of the congressional house republicans' ACA repeal bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA). We are urging everyone to take action immediately to share the devastating impact this proposed bill will have on Illinois families, communities, economy, and budget.
While this process remains very fluid, our understanding is that the congressional house republicans plan to quickly move their ACA repeal bill, the American Health Care Act, out of the Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce committees this week and hold a vote in the full U.S. House of Representatives a few short weeks afterwards. EverThrive IL will continue to ask the hard questions, hold our elected officials accountable, provide the needed analyses on the impact of the AHCA on IL, and urge all our supporters to stay engaged in continuing the fight to protect the health coverage gains made through the ACA and to protect the Medicaid program. The best way to stay tuned to the most recent updates on this work is by signing on to the Protect Our Care Illinois Coalition as well as staying connected to EverThrive IL's policy advocacy eNews.
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