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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 31, 2001

Governor Ryan Commends General Assembly for Passing Balanced State Budget
$50 billion budget commits new money to education, $1.2 billion end of year balance. Consumer protections, economic development packages also pass

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today congratulated the Illinois General Assembly for passing a fiscally sound, $53 billion budget that continues the Governor's unprecedented commitment of 51 percent of new revenue to education; plans for an end of year balance of more than $1.4 billion; and addresses the state's important social service and infrastructure needs.

"This budget continues the course we have set for this state. For a record third year in a row, we've committed 51 percent of new revenues to education. It provides for social service needs and health programs and ends the fiscal year with a total end of year balance of more than $1.4 billion," Gov. Ryan said. "It provides for all of the major budget priorities I outlined when I introduced the budget in February. I want to commend the legislative leaders and the members of the General Assembly for working in bipartisan fashion to pass this budget which charts a course of continued strength for our state."

After committing to the Governor's main budget priorities--51 percent of new general revenues to education and the dollar-an-hour increase for direct care workers for the developmentally disabled-the Governor's budget, as proposed in February, holds the line on the growth of state government. Subtracting for new correctional facilities required by overcrowded facilities, and employee health insurance and child support, the rest of the 2002 budget, including nearly 60 state agencies, is decreased by one percent. Total general funds appropriations increased less than three percent to $23.4 billion.

When you subtract reappropriations from the overall $53 billion budget, new appropriations in the budget total $44 billion.

EDUCATION

With this year's commitment of $460 million, or 51 percent of new revenues, nearly $1.5 billion has been committed to education and workforce training under Governor Ryan-more than any governor before him. The total appropriation for education in 2002 is nearly $9 billion.

The Fiscal Year 2002 budget also continues Governor Ryan's commitment to building schools and classrooms across the state with the Illinois FIRST program. Thousands of students across Illinois will benefit from new classrooms and school buildings with $740 million new dollars provided to the school construction program, including $148 million new dollars for Chicago Public Schools.

Higher education also receives continued investment. The General Assembly approved Gov. Ryan's commitment to rebuilding the state's community colleges with a $250 million, 5-year construction program. In all, this budget includes a record commitment to higher education, with more than $3.6 billion committed this year for state universities, community colleges and private institutions.

CLINICAL and BIOTECHNOLOGY RESEARCH

Clinical and biotechnology research and development is supported throughout the state as a continuation of Gov. Ryan's VentureTECH program, including:

  • $9 Million-Juvenile Diabetes Research Center at the University of Chicago

  • $10 Million- Biomedical Research Facility at Northwestern University

  • $14.5 Million- SIU School of Medicine Cancer Research Center

  • $75 Million-University of Illinois Post Genomics Institute

Other high tech investments include $30 million for the University of Illinois' National Supercomputer Applications center, $2 million to help Argonne Labs attract the Rare Isotope Accelerator project and $1.1 million for Southern Illinois University--Edwardsville for advanced tech worker training.

CAPITAL INVESTMENTS

The continued support of Illinois FIRST means funding for a wide variety of projects ranging from the Lake Michigan shoreline in Chicago ($7 million) to the Lawrence County Hospital ($400,000). The newly approved 2002 budget commits $882 million to new, regular capital improvement projects proposed by the Governor. That capital program is in addition to already authorized Illinois FIRST projects, and road and school construction programs. The total for all capital projects is $2.45 billion.

One highlight will be the doubling of this year's commitment to the Open Lands Trust program, from $40 million to $80 million. Gov. Ryan originally secured passage of Open Lands as a 4-year, $160 million program to help local governments acquire more green space, nature centers and recreational areas. Since its inception it has been enormously successful, attracting nearly $500 million in applications.

In addition to the $740 million school construction program, the capital program also provides:

  • $400 million for highways.

  • $150 million for mass transit

  • $25 million for environmental and coal development projects

SOCIAL SERVICES

The budget includes significant commitments to social service programs. Those who care for the developmentally disabled will receive a $1-an-hour increase in pay, retroactive to March 1. Social service agencies contracting with the state will receive a two percent increase. About $50 million in Tobacco Settlement Funds will be dedicated to anti-smoking programs, including smoking prevention programs targeted at teens.

Gov. Ryan also noted they closed the $270 million gap in the state's Medicaid budget. At the same time, payments to health care providers will remain below 30 days. The Governor said his administration will continue to focus on securing an increased level of federal reimbursement for Medicaid. An increased federal reimbursement rate is the only long-term solution to the budget issue and could allow the state to expand health care to more low-income parents through the Family Care program.

"We will continue to work with Congress to boost Illinois' federal reimbursement and bring it in line with other states," Governor Ryan said. "If we can do that and get a fair return for Illinois, we will then focus our efforts on Family Care, to provide health insurance coverage for low-income parents, just as we've successfully provided health care coverage to more than 150,000 low-income children through KidCARE."

FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY

Gov. Ryan noted the budget plans for the state to continue maintaining a healthy balance. The $225 Million earmarked for the state's Rainy Day Fund will not be drawn, and, together with the General Revenue Fund, will leave Illinois with a more than $1.4 billion balance at the end of the fiscal year.

"This is a responsible, balanced budget that's good for the people of Illinois," Gov. Ryan said. "This budget puts our state on solid ground for the future."

SUCCESSFUL SESSION

The budget agreement caps off another successful legislative session with bipartisan support for initiatives to provide new consumer protections and create economic development opportunities including:

  • The Governor's regulations to stop predatory lending and curb abuses in the payday loan industry are taking effect.

  • The General Assembly passed a rewrite of the state telecommunications act in an effort to create competition and encourage better phone service.

  • With bipartisan support, the legislature supported the Governor's $3.5 billion coal package to reinvigorate the Illinois coal industry and provide for increased supply of reliable energy.

  • The General Assembly approved the Corporate Headquarters Relocation Act and modest changes to the EDGE tax incentive program. These changes will help provide the economic incentives for Boeing, which recently joined Gov. Ryan and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley in announcing it had chosen Chicago as its new world headquarters.

  • The legislature approved the $800 million McCormick Place expansion. The project will be financed by bonds backed by existing taxes imposed by the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, including taxes on hotel stays in the city, downtown restaurants and car rentals. It is estimated the expansion in convention space will pump nearly $70 million into state tax coffers and create construction and tourism jobs.

    "We passed a major rewrite of the state's telecommunications law, clamped down on predatory lending and curtailed abuses in the payday loan industry," Gov. Ryan said. "We completed major economic development projects for the Chicago area. Our $3.5 billion coal package will create jobs in Southern Illinois and boost the supply of energy for reliable electricity for the region."


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