Posts Tagged: state budget crisis

Wait . . why do we have pensions for public employees again?

The New York Times’ Michael Powell has a good piece on one of the biggest, if not the biggest labor issue in the country: state government’s failure to keep up with public worker’s pension fund payments and related cries by the private sector, and some elected officials, to break collective bargaining agreements and stop investing in these funds. (more…)

Federal money came after the school bell rang

In August, President Obama signed a bill to provide $26 billion extra in stimulus money toward education and Medicaid. This included $415 million in education money for Illinois — specifically intended to save teachers’ jobs.  But Crystal Yendek of the Chicago News Cooperative reports that for many school districts the money came too late. The Education Jobs Fund didn’t kick in until September, after the 2010-11 school year started, and as a result, fully $300 million of the $415 million hasn’t been spent. (more…)

Illinois reaches for FEMA assistance

Westchester, Illinois

FEMA started visiting flooded homes in Chicago’s western suburbs like Westchester and Elmhurst yesterday to determine if the area qualifies for federal assistance, reports the Chicago Tribune’s Joseph Ruzich.  Cash-strapped Illinois, of course, wants all the financial help it can get to recover from last month’s flooding. The best way for a state to get FEMA aid is to prove (more…)

Medicaid relief for states like Illinois may come soon

Pat Quinn

In a major breakthrough yesterday, the Senate overcame a filibuster on a bill to provide $26.1 billion in Medicaid and education assistance to state governments.  The House is now expected to return from its August recess to pass the legislation, and President Obama should sign the bill before the 2010-11 school year begins — averting some teacher layoffs. The money will help Illinois, (more…)

Illinois patiently waits for Medicaid money

Via Progress Illinois, The Hill’s Julian Pecquet reports that Senate leader Harry Reid is expected to table a bill that extends increased Medicaid payments to states for six months.  These Medicaid payments were a critical part of the stimulus bill and their extension could make the Illinois budget crisis less dire. (more…)

Budget crunch time in Illinois

Pat Quinn

This week is budget week in Illinois. Gov. Pat Quinn wants a budget on his desk by Friday and yesterday the Illinois House voted to borrow $3.7 billion to cover next year’s pension payments, reports the State-Journal Register’s Doug Finke. Yet it remains unclear if the federal government will help Quinn and the state legislature close a record $13 billion budget gap. A plan to help cash-strapped states is just now starting its journey through Congress. The Hill’s Walter Alarkon reports that Barack Obama and House Democrats want to attach $25 billion in aid for state and local governments on to (get ready) the Afghanistan and Iraq war spending bill: (more…)

Illinois Wants ACA Dollars ASAP

Illinois is trying to get a $200 million piece from the $5 billion in federal funding to insure so-called “high-risk individuals” who have been denied health care by insurance companies.  These are the uninsured that the sweeping Affordable Care Act is supposed to help immediately — those who applied for health care but were denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. (more…)

The Case For Federal Aid To The States

The Obama administration and Congress need to give more money to state governments with major budget deficits. Budget deficits are a recession-based problem in almost every state and the most populous states have the most urgent need for outside aid.

Here in Illinois, there is a $13 billion deficit and the lingering question of whether Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and the state legislature will raise taxes. Today, the Chicago Sun-Times’ Dave McKinney relayed a new report from the conservative Illinois Policy Institute on how Illinois can wipe out its $13 billion budget deficit without raising taxes.

Unfortunately, the think tank’s ideas are even more politically unpopular than a tax increase. (more…)

Stimulate The Schools

The New York Times’ Sam Dillon relays a study that state governments have spent almost all of the $100 billion in emergency education funding from last year’s federal stimulus bill. So since there’s still a recession and multiple state budget crises across the nation, states will cut programs and lay off teachers and other school workers.

Education funding to states was a great use of low-hanging fruit in the stimulus: you give the states X amount of money and then X amount of teachers won’t be laid off. Unless Congress passes a second round of stimulus for states, thousands of teachers will soon lose their jobs.