June 07, 2018

Illinois has a budget—on time and without Rauner’s demands

For the first time since taking office, Gov. Rauner signed a full budget, on time, on June 4 after the General Assembly adopted it with strong bipartisan support on May 31.

His hand weakened by near defeat in the March primary, the governor was conspicuously absent from budget talks in the final weeks of session—a big change from the previous three years where his anti-worker demands prevented legislators from funding the state’s needs.

Last year, some Republican legislators broke with the governor and supported a necessary income tax increase, ending Rauner’s two-year grip on the budget process. That funding was key to ensuring a fully funded budget again this year.

While not perfect, the budget that starts this July includes key pieces of funding important to AFSCME members and working families, including:

While there were some reductions to personal service (salary) lines for state employees, the cut is not deep enough to indicate layoffs. But it will be another lean staffing year.

The budget also establishes a voluntary option for Tier I participants in SERS, SURS and TRS to receive a cash payment at retirement in return for accepting a lower cost-of-living increase over their retirement years. AFSCME will soon be sending members a complete summary of the new law along with information as to how taking that option would impact retirement security.

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