Representative Dan Swanson’s May 17 Capitol News Update


  • Revenue estimate shows state with $52.1 billion available
  • House Republicans speak out against licensing delays
  • Twelve new Second Lieutenants commissioned
  • Senior Hall of Fame nominations now being accepted

Revenue estimate shows state with $52.1 billion available

The Illinois state Constitution requires the General Assembly to enact a balanced budget every year. Another state law requires us to adopt a revenue estimate so that we can determine whether or not the budget is balanced. If we have enough revenue to cover all the spending, then it is balanced. If we don’t, it isn’t balanced.

But for almost a decade, the House and Senate have skipped this important step, charging ahead with a spending plan without first putting together an estimate of how much revenue we have available to spend. It’s one of the many reasons Illinois is in such a difficult financial condition.

This year House Republicans are trying to restore some reality to the budget process by using figures from the nonpartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA) to come up with an estimate of how much money the state will have available in the next fiscal year. According to that agency, the figure is $52.077 billion.

House Republicans have filed a revenue estimate resolution which would lock in the CGFA figure and ensure that this year’s budget is truly balanced.

The Governor has taken a different approach. He has proposed a budget that spends a billion dollars more than we are estimated to have available. To make up the difference he has proposed about $1.1 billion in new taxes.

House Republicans speak out against licensing delays

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) has earned a reputation for being very slow to respond to Illinoisans’ applications for new licenses. This is a significant issue because of the thousands of Illinoisans who need up-to-date licenses to legally perform their jobs.

Illinois residents have completed their licensure paperwork, paid fees to IDFPR and then waited for weeks and sometimes months with no activity. The explanation from IDFPR has been some form of “we are backed up” as they have been working for more than a year on installing a new software program supposed to improve the process. This new program is said to be able to generate an automated process for Illinoisans to submit their application or their renewal and for it to be efficiently processed.

But the reality is that no such program has emerged at IDFPR, in spite of the agency’s promises. Some software companies are said to be reluctant to work with IDFPR because of the security of its computer system, which makes them not want to sell or lease valuable intellectual property to an agency they fear has insecure infrastructure. A legislative hearing was held at the Capitol to put pressure on IDFPR to fix the problems creating this license backlog, and to call attention to the fact that none of the agency’s promises about software modernization have come true.

This is going to continue to be a significant issue for Illinois professionals until IDFPR can straighten out its mess.

Twelve new Second Lieutenants commissioned

This weekend the U. S. Army and Illinois Army National Guard added 12 Second Lieutenants during a ceremony for the ROTC Leatherneck Battalion at Western Illinois University.

These young men and women earned the right to pin on the “gold bar” after completing rigorous military training while also meeting college classroom requirements.

Congratulations to each of you as you take on this challenge.

Senior Hall of Fame nominations now being accepted

The Illinois Department on Aging maintains a Senior Hall of Fame, a recognition of outstanding older Illinoisans who make a difference in their communities. Every year around this time the Department asks the public for nominations of local seniors who are deserving of this recognition.

There are four categories for nominations: Arts, Sports and Entertainment; Community Service; Education; and Labor. The nomination deadline is June 1 with an award ceremony scheduled for this fall.

The Senior Illinoisans Hall of Fame got started 30 years ago, and since that time 137 older Illinoisans have been inducted. Find out more here.

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