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Springfield update: Lawmakers wield scissors, slice 6.14 percent from FY2012 base allocation

June 11, 2012
Lori Clark

Lori Clark

In an effort to keep you informed about what occurred during the spring legislative session in Springfield, we thought that it would be helpful to focus on some key areas and give you more context in terms of what happened.

Our first area of focus is the Fiscal Year 2013 budget.

The Illinois General Assembly once again used the same approach to developing a Fiscal Year 2013 budget as was used in FY 2012.

After reviewing the revenue projections used by the governor, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability and others, the House of Representatives developed and adopted House Resolution 707 House Amendment 1. It establishes an anticipated revenue projection for Illinois for FY 2013; the same revenue estimate was adopted by the Senate. The revenue projection number established was $33.719 billion, less than the projection used by Gov. Quinn in his FY2013 budget.

The following non-discretionary allocations were taken off the top:

  • Pensions ($5.1 billion)
  • Group Insurance ($1.171 billion)
  • Debt Service ($2.218 billion)
  • Statutory Transfers Out ($2.142 billion)
  • Medicaid ($6.639 billion)

In addition, $1 billion was allocated for the backlog of unpaid state Medicaid obligations, with 50 percent of that amount to be provided by federal reimbursements. An additional $300 million was allocated for the backlog of unpaid state non-Medicaid obligations.

After these non-discretionary allocations were made, each of the five House appropriations committees was given an allocation for the remaining anticipated revenue as follows (House Resolution 706 House Amendment 2):

  • Elementary and Secondary (39.83 percent)
  • General Services (7.148 percent)
  • Human Services (31.212 percent)
  • Public Safety (9.67 percent)
  • Higher Education (12.141 percent)

For higher education, this translated to nearly $1.98 billion, or a 6.14 percent decrease from the FY 2012 base allocation.

Photo of a down-pointing white arrow painted on black pavementThe House and Senate both agreed that the allocations were based on the ability of the General Assembly to identify $2.7 billion in Medicaid reductions in FY 2013, the same level as established by the governor.

If these reductions were not made, then additional reductions would have occurred in the discretionary appropriations, including for higher education. The General Assembly ultimately was able to identify the necessary Medicaid reductions, through reform measures, reductions in benefits, increased revenues (through a $1/pack cigarette tax increase), and eligibility verifications, so that no further reductions were needed in the discretionary funding allocations.

Members of the House Higher Education Appropriations Committee solicited the input from each agency and institution under its purview, including NIU, on how to achieve these reductions. Basically, each agency and institution sustained a 6.14 percent reduction.

With performance funding factored in, NIU’s FY2013 appropriation was reduced by $6.106 million, from the FY 2012 level of $99,576,200 to $93,470,200, or 6.13 percent.

The Monetary Award Program administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission was reduced by$15,370.6 million, or 3.98 percent. Other ISAC programs that received no FY2013 appropriations included Illinois Veterans Grants, National Guard Grants, Illinois Future Teachers Corp Scholarships, Nurse Educator Loan Repayment Program and College Savings Bond Incentive Grants. The ISAC-administered Illinois Scholars Program was reduced by nearly 99 percent.

In the Board of Higher Education, the Grow Your Own Teacher Education Act was reduced by 60 percent, the Cooperative Work Study Program by 9.39 percent, the Competitive Nursing School Grants by 51.7 percent, the Nurse Educator Fellowships by 9.39 percent and the u.Select System by 9.39 percent.

“Unfortunately for NIU and all other public universities in Illinois, this continues Springfield’s trend of lowering its annual support for higher education and putting college degrees beyond the financial grasp of countless deserving students,” NIU President John Peters said.

“For more than a decade, we’ve tried to keep up with this disinvestment by becoming more cost-efficient, but we’ve also been forced to raise tuition. The state’s reductions have returned NIU to funding levels last seen in 1996 and 1997. Inflation, of course, has not retreated,” Peters added. “Sad to say, but these actions are simply making higher education more and more unaffordable for lower- and moderate-income families.”

The Voices section of NIU Today features opinions and perspectives from across campus. Lori Clark is director of State and Federal Relations for NIU.