Rep. Mitchell: “Pass a balanced budget or don’t get paid” Lawmaker wants to stop budget gimmicks that hurt local services

Decatur… With the State’s budget impasse entering month seven, State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) is calling for passage of new legislation that will require lawmakers to pass a budget that is truly balanced – or not be paid.

Speaking at Richland Community College Tuesday, Representative Mitchell discussed the negative impact the lack of a state budget is having on Richland.

“We’re in our seventh month without a budget. Illinois is a dysfunctional state. The lack of a budget, along with years of unbalanced budgets, is hurting our schools, colleges and providers. Here at Richland, the lack of a budget has had a profoundly negative impact. Millions of dollars in grants have been lost, tuition has been increased and there’s no MAP funding for students this semester,” said Rep. Mitchell.

“Our current balanced budget provision in the Illinois Constitution has no ‘teeth’, and as a result, some General Assemblies and Governors have used budget gimmicks and accounting tricks to get around it, or simply ignored it altogether with no real consequences to themselves. The consequences to our communities, however, have been devastating,” said Mitchell.

Representative Mitchell is proposing legislation to put real “teeth” into the state’s balanced budget requirement. It demands that within 30 days of the enactment of a budget, the Auditor General’s Office must certify that the budget will be balanced with expenses not exceeding expected revenue. If the Auditor General declares that the budget is not balanced then the Comptroller will:
  • Stop payment for the salary of General Assembly members and Constitutional Officers; and
  • Within 10 days of the Auditor General’s certification that the budget is not balanced, the General Assembly must convene to enact a new state budget.
“For years now, Democratic majorities have passed budgets that were absolutely unbalanced, leaving billions in unpaid bills,” said Rep. Mitchell. “It’s time to hold state government accountable to the taxpayers. My balanced budget bill will force lawmakers to put their money where their mouths are. Pass a truly balanced budget or don’t get paid. This is a common-sense fiscal reform that is sorely needed in Springfield.”