GOMB projects State budget deficits in FY25 and following years
The “Illinois Economic and Fiscal Policy Report,” submitted last month by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB), contains long-term projections covering spending and tax revenue trends faced by Illinois. The GOMB projects continued compounding increases in the expenses in several key areas of State general-funds spending, particularly health care costs, pensions, and mandated education funding increases. The GOMB projects general funds budgeted spending, including pensions, rising from $48.3 billion in FY24 to almost $55.8 billion five years down the road in FY29.
House Republicans have warned that State spending has outpaced core revenue growth over recent years; and that the State has become increasingly reliant on one-time revenue sources to fund new and existing spending programs. To try to deal with these deficits, Illinois is building up its Budget Stabilization Fund, or rainy day fund. The cash and cash-equivalent funds on deposit in the rainy day fund have now reached more than $2 billion.
State Police creates online form for reporting of public-sector corruption
Illinois has a long-standing, sad history of public corruption. Four of Illinois’ last eleven governors have served time in federal prison and numerous elected officials have been convicted or are awaiting trial for public corruption, including former House Speaker Michael J. Madigan.
The Special Investigations Unit, a detection operation within the State Police, has posted an online citizen complaint form for the immediate reporting of criminal misconduct by elected officials and government employees, such as asking for an under-the-table payment or favor for some sort of governmental service or preference. Government employees include not only elected officials, but also people who were appointed by, or are answerable to, an elected official or public administrator.
Gun ban challenge Supreme Court deadline
The state of Illinois has until Wednesday to respond to the U.S. Supreme Court regarding a challenge to Democrats’ firearms ban.
New Back 2 Business Grants
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) recently announced the Illinois B2B NewBiz grant program that became available on November 30. This new program extends financial relief to businesses that started during the COVID-19 pandemic in industries that were most impacted by it. Grants are for businesses that have not been eligible for state grants and most of the federal emergency support thus far.
Business owners can learn more and apply for the Illinois B2B NewBiz grant on the grant portal, at https://b2bnewbiz.com, until January 11, 2024.
Illinois celebrates the Christmas holiday season
The Illinois tourism department, “Enjoy Illinois,” has put together a package of website pages to highlight the holiday season in Illinois. Hanukkah will begin on Thursday, December 7, and will continue until Friday, December 15. Kwanzaa, a celebration of African American culture, will begin on Boxing Day Tuesday, December 26, and will continue until New Year’s Day, January 1.
Many Illinois communities have put together Christmas-themed displays and celebrations. Enjoy Illinois has put together itineraries and travel suggestions for the suburban Chicago area, Downstate Illinois, and the city of Chicago.