Wednesday, June 1, 2016

amending Illinois Constitution so Governor actually submits a balanced budget

The deadline for Illinois General Assembly to pass the annual budget for State of Illinois by simple majority has passed. Legislation passed by May 31 on needs a majority. After this date, legislation requires 3/5 majority to pass.

Starting July 1, 2015, Illinois has been operating without an annual budget.

Democrats, like Rep. Rob Martwick, tell audiences that Gov. Bruce Rauner submitted budgets to the Illinois General Assembly that weren't balanced. Rauner calls the budgets proposed by the Democratic majorities in Illinois General Assembly "phony" because they aren't balanced.

State of Illinois can't pay for basic services and pensions without raising taxes. Democrats don't want to take the political heat/backlash for raising taxes without Republicans sharing the discomfort.

Rauner doesn't care about budgets. His agenda is to harm the interests of organized labor. So, he refuses to pass an annual budget unless he gets bills harming labor.

Why don't Democrats impeach Rauner? Democrats have 39 of 59 seats in the Illinois Senate. It will take 40 votes to remove the Governor.

Neither the Governor nor the Illinois General Assembly is fulfilling their duties under the Illinois Constitution.

I propose amending the Illinois Constitution to put more pressure on the parties to fulfill their duties.

I'm not going to try to write-up the proposal in language for the Illinois Constitution. Instead I'll explain it. The lawyers can devise the correct language.

Step 1. The Governor submits a budget to the Illinois General Assembly. This budget shall include an appendix that explains any assumptions outside the control of the Gov & General Assembly, eg aspects of the budget that can be challenged in court.

Step 2. The Attorney General shall flag any legal assumptions that the Governor overlooked. The Attorney General shall have the option of commenting on any legal matters pertaining to the budget consistent with AG fulfilling other duties.

Step 3. The Illinois House, Comptroller & Treasurer shall evaluate whether the Governor's budget is balanced.

Step 4. The Illinois House shall vote on whether the budget submitted by the Governor is balanced within 21 days of the Governor submitting the budget. If the House determines the budget is not balanced, the Governor shall have ten days to submit an updated budget. Then the House shall vote on the updated budget. If the House determines the updated budget is not balance, the House shall impeach the Governor.

Case House finds budget not balanced, but votes down impeachment: In this case, the entire Illinois House shall stand for retention vote in her/his district: "Shall ____ continue to serve as a public official in the State of Illinois?" Any Representative who fails to get a majority of "yes" votes shall be removed from office and disqualified from taxpayer funded jobs for a period of time determined by the Illinois legislature.

Case House finds budget not balanced, votes for impeachment. The Illinois Senate shall decide whether to remove the Governor. No matter the decision, in the next election, all Senators shall stand for retention vote, as described above.

Case House finds budget balanced, Comptroller & Treasurer find the budget NOT balanced: the people of Illinois shall be informed of the determination by the Comptroller & Treasurer and the members of the House shall stand for retention votes, as described above, UNLESS the Illinois House persuades 2/3 of the Illinois Supreme Court to rule that the budget is balanced.

Case House finds budget balanced but either Comptroller OR Treasurer finds the budget NOT balanced: the party that finds the budget not balanced shall make her/his case to Illinois Supreme Court. If 2/3 of the judges agree, the people of Illinois shall be informed of the determination and the members of the House shall stand for retention votes as described above.

Also, Illinois General Assembly shall create provisions for years when economic recession & depression make it impractical to balance the budget. The people shall be informed that the budget is out of balance, but it shall be treated as balanced. These provisions shall only take effect after all Illinois pension funds certify that they have been made whole from borrowing prior to adopting this amendment.

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