Rep. Wheeler files twin bills to force state budget to live within its means

Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, has filed new legislation in the Illinois House of Representatives that would require the General Assembly to adopt a revenue estimate no later than April 30 of each calendar year (HB 5244) and a companion bill that would prohibit the General Assembly from passing any spending bill until a revenue estimate is adopted (HB 5245).

“Agreeing on a bipartisan revenue estimate is the first and most important step in the budget process,” Rep. Wheeler said. “The revenue estimate also protects taxpayers. By skipping it year after year to pass budgets crafted to fulfill the majority party’s wish list, Illinois continues to spend more than we take in, which leads to calls for new tax increases. We need to stop the vicious cycle that keeps reaching into taxpayers’ pockets to fund the reckless spending habits of JB Pritzker and Illinois Democrats.”

The General Assembly is required by state law to adopt a revenue estimate:

The House and Senate by joint resolution shall adopt or modify such estimates as may be appropriate. The joint resolution shall constitute the General Assembly’s estimate, under paragraph B of Section 2 of Article VIII of the Constitution, of funds estimated to be available during the next fiscal year (25 ILCS 155/4(a))

A balanced budget is required by the Illinois State Constitution, Article VIII, Section 2, Subsection (b):

Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year.

The bipartisan, bicameral Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA) is tasked with generating a revenue estimate with forecasts from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget as well as the Illinois Department of Revenue.

“The last time the General Assembly adopted a revenue estimate was in 2014,” Rep. Wheeler added. “Every year since, we have seen a willful failure on the part of the Democratic majority to meet this fundamental responsibility. We have an opportunity to not repeat that same mistake again this year; and instead demonstrate to Illinois families our commitment to work together to pass a state budget that lives within our means and respect taxpayers.”