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Springfield Snapshot, May 27-31, 2013

The General Assembly is scheduled to conclude its spring session on May 31, 2013. The following Policy Update reviews action related to CMAP's agenda and legislative framework from the week of May 27-31. CMAP's recap of the spring 2013 session will be available on the Policy Updates blog next week.

Session Wrap-Up
The last hours of session will be devoted to some of the
most contentious issues the General Assembly faces, including the state budget, pension reform, gaming, fracking, and gun control. CMAP is closely monitoring several state agency budgets, including the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Illinois Department of Transportation appropriations, currently in
HB 214 and HB 215, respectively. In addition to setting funding for state programs and services, the fiscal year 2014 budget needs to address a backlog of bills and mounting pension costs. The final authorization needed to complete the 2009 capital bill, Illinois Jobs Now!, passed both chambers on Thursday morning in HB 2869, totaling $2.7 billion.

Pension reform negotiations continue. Two comprehensive proposals drove debate this session: House Speaker Madigan's proposal (SB 1) emphasizes reform of four State pension systems and Senate President Cullerton's bill (SB 2404) proposes reform by providing cost-cutting options for retirees. SB 1 was voted down on the Illinois Senate floor on Thursday night. Policy makers remain divided on whether the Madigan proposal is constitutional and if the Cullerton proposal would yield enough savings to address the state's woefully underfunded pensions. Other reform proposals that make targeted adjustments are progressing in the Illinois Senate, including HB 1154 that would impose a pensionable salary cap, HB 1165 that would impose a cost of living adjustment (COLA) limitation, and HB 1166 that would increase the retirement age for several pension systems.

Transportation Funding
Yesterday, a proposal (HB 3637) was introduced that would overhaul how the State collects and distributes revenue for transportation projects. The bill aligns with the Transportation for Illinois Coalition (TFIC) proposal discussed this spring, which called for eliminating the current state motor fuel tax (MFT) and replacing it with a new wholesale tax based on the price of fuel. CMAP analyzed the TFIC proposal in a previous Policy Update. HB 3637 would impose a 9.5-percent wholesale tax on motor fuel, along with increases to vehicle registration and other fees. CMAP will continue to monitor the bills progress and be engaged in discussions about how to better meet our state's infrastructure needs.

Economic Development
An amendment to SB 20, which would create the Economic Development Act of 2013, was voted out of the Illinois House of Representatives yesterday. The bill would facilitate development projects throughout the state, including a few in northeastern Illinois such as the brownfields redevelopment in the south suburbs and the south suburban airport. The bill has been sent to Illinois Senate Executive for concurrence on the amendments.

Bills Directly Affecting CMAP
One bill with direct impact on CMAP continues to advance through the legislative process. HB 3199 requires the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability to hold a hearing within 30 days after the Governor's Budget Address to the General Assembly to consider CMAP's annual report and its impact on the State budget. Status: HB 3199 sits on third reading in the Senate and has a deadline extension to May 31.

Other Bills Acted on This Week
Illinois Urban Development Authority (HB 1295) amends the Illinois Urban Development Authority Act to allow for the development, financing, and maintenance of transportation projects. Status: Passed in both chambers.

Open Space Land Grants (SB 1341) reduces the Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant match requirement from the current 50 percent to 10 percent for communities that are distressed (defined in rules to be promulgated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources). Status: Sits on second reading in the House.