COLUMNS

Maybe we should threaten impeachment more often

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

State government is moving at lightning speed, at least in the governor's office.

Maybe we should threaten impeachment more often.

Yesterday I received the following press release from the governor's office.

Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today took action on the following bills:

Bill No.: SB 450

An Act Concerning: Law enforcement

Description: Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code.

Action:  Signed

Effective Date:  Immediately

Bill No.: SB 620

An Act Concerning: Regulation

Description: Amends the Railroad Police Act.

Action:  Signed

Effective Date: June 1, 2009

Bill No.: SB 1890

An Act Concerning: Finance

Description: Amends the Public Construction Bond Act.

Action: Signed

Effective Date:  Immediately

Bill No.: SB 2031

An Act Concerning: Local Government

Description: Amends the Emergency Telephone System Act.

Action:  Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: SB 2492

An Act Concerning: Public aid

Description: Amends the Illinois Public Aid Code.

Action:  Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: SB 2536

An Act Concerning: Local government

Description: Amends the Counties Code.

Action:  Signed

Effective Date:  Immediately

Bill No.: SB 2688

An Act Concerning: Education

Description: Amends the Chicago School District Article of the School Code and the School Safety Drill Act.

Action: Signed

Effective Date:  Immediate

Bill No.: SB 2743

An Act Concerning: Local Government

Description: Amends the Illinois Municipal Code.

Action: Signed

Effective Date:  June 1, 2009.

Bill No.: HB 427

An Act Concerning: Law enforcement

Description: Aligns the Department of Defense officers to the same standards as other United States departments who are also considered peace officers.

Action:  Signed

Effective Date:  Immediately

Bill No.: HB 4758

An Act Concerning: Gaming

Description: Provides for the transfer of certain gaming revenues into a newly-created Horse Racing Equity Trust Fund.

Action:  Signed

Effective Date:  Immediately

Bill No.: HB 5730

An Act Concerning: Local government

Description: Extends a Hoffman Estates Tax Increment Financing.

Action:  Veto

Effective Date: June 1, 2009

Today, I received this from the governor's office.

 Because the national recession has negatively affected Illinois’ revenue and caused a $2 billion fiscal year 2009 budget deficit, the State will be selling $1.4 billion in general obligation certificates to infuse the General Revenue Fund with much needed cash to pay vendors and providers who urgently need payment.

“We are pleased to be taking this step to help the state speed payment to many organizations and agencies that have provided care for seniors, healthcare to children, or other critical services and have been waiting to be paid. Together with the Comptroller’s, Treasurer’s, and Attorney General’s offices, we are able to fulfill our commitment to these organizations,” said Ginger Ostro, Director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget.

The Office of the Governor, the Office of the Comptroller, the Office of the Treasurer, and the Office of the Attorney General have worked together on this short-term borrowing transaction which would immediately put cash into the State’s accounts so that the Comptroller can pay bills more quickly.

In addition to the state receiving less revenue than the budget projected, the state also has an uneven cash flow. This means that more dollars will come into the state during March, April and May. The short-term borrowing will allow the state to pay many bills now that have been pending, rather than waiting for this spring when additional money comes in. While short-term borrowing will not solve the budget deficit, the state needs to pay vendors and manage the uneven cash flow.

In May 2003, the state borrowed $1.5 billion to pay Medicaid assistance, medical providers of long term care, the refund fund, and state aid payments to K-12 schools. Short-term borrowing has been used in other years since to manage cash flow and ensure the state’s payment obligations are met in a timely manner.

Illinois is not alone in facing a FY09 budget shortfall due to lower than projected revenues. At a recent meeting with President-Elect Barack Obama and the nation’s governors, Chairman of the National Governors Association, Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, said 43 of 50 states currently face budget deficits.