Not passing a revenue estimate resolution is not being honest with taxpayers, which is why one lawmaker said he’s filed two measures requiring a revenue estimate before any budget bills are passed.
The Illinois Constitution says lawmakers must pass a budget for a fiscal year that “shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year.”
In previous years, the House and Senate would pass a joint revenue estimate resolution for the coming fiscal year’s budget. However, that hasn’t happened for the past two years – the same amount of time the state’s been without a full-year spending plan.
Republican state Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, said not passing the revenue estimate doesn’t give taxpayers the whole picture.
“We’re not really trying to be honest with taxpayers," Wheeler said. "Until we get a revenue estimate adopted, we’re just playing with the money and this isn’t Monopoly money, this is actual real people’s money.”
Wheeler said passing a spending plan without a revenue estimate shouldn't happen.
“We’ve never gone past May to do that, and we have amended them in the past based on what we expected when changing different state statutes regarding revenue,” he said. “This is not rocket science. This is common sense.”
A spokesman for Speaker Michael Madigan said the reason no estimate was passed for FY15 or 16 was that there was never a consensus reached in the House on the estimate.
Senate President John Cullerton’s office didn’t provide an immediate response.
Wheeler has filed two bills on the issue. One would require the revenue estimate by April 30 each year. The other would block any appropriation bill until lawmakers pass a revenue estimate.