Illinois released its budget. Here are the gory details, all 472 pages worth. Here is a nice column by the indispensible Eric Zorn about the controversial $8.75 billion borrowing measure. Here are two other good sources from the Tribune and from Micah Maidenberg at Progress Illinois.
If you don’t care about any of that, here is me droning about it on Chicago Public Radio. If you don’t care about that, either, here’s the story.
This is a painful budget that includes deep cuts that will hurt real people. If you are a Medicaid patient needing dental services, you just took a hit. If you need addiction treatment, you just took a hit, too. Low Medicaid reimbursement rates are already a key problem for Illinois providers and for county governments. These rates will be cut even further. There’s no painless way to close a huge budget gap, especially when the state lacks the proper revenue.
We need (a) to pay off the state’s unpaid bills, (b) to rise more revenue through expanded and more progressive taxation, and (c) to establish a more transparent and professional budget process that holds both parties to the kind of scoring process imposed at the federal level by the Congressional Budget Office.