Rauner: Illinois Start Point Revenue Estimates

Legislative leaders of Illinois state have given hints that they will provide an official estimate of tax revenues. The figures will show how much the state will suction up in the upcoming fiscal year. Analysts, however, express doubts. There have been multiple questions about the reliability of such numbers in the past. As per the constitution of Illinois state, the expenditures must not surpass the anticipated revenues. This rule should be applied every year. As per the state statute, a resolution of revenue estimate must be passed in both Senate and the House.

Two bills

The second week of April saw two bills being tabled. Both were crafted by Representative Keith Wheeler. One bill dealt with revenue estimates being passed prior to April 30. Another bill needs a revenue estimate prior to any money going out. The first bill is House Bill 4501 and the second, House Bill 4500. Wheeler said that these shows that the government is not willing to be accountable to the taxpayers.

The resolution for revenue estimate is generally derived from the estimates out of Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA). It is a non-partisan body. Data for making the estimates are also taken from Governor's Office of Management and Budget (GOMB). The possibility that the estimates can be off the mark is recognized by lawmakers as well. A certain state lawmaker is trying for a revenue estimate in official records. This is one thing the General Assembly has not passed in a number of years. He said this should be done for the benefit of taxpayers.

Better for the state

Wheeler, a Republican elected from Oswego, said that things must be done in better order. He affirmed that taxpayers must be protected. The state, he reminded, must be protected from sliding deeper into debt. These are the aims of such bills.

The lawmaker is correct in his assertions. A report published by Illinois Policy Institute, a non-partisan body, shows that for many years during the last 10 years, these estimates were off by millions of dollars. To give an example, the GOMB estimate of Governor Pat Quinn in 2013 was way off the mark. The difference was two billion. For COGFA, the difference was $350 million. No wonder Governor Bruce Rauner asked whether it is fair to question whether this estimate is reliable. He compared it to Congressional Budget Office, whose job is to do official tasks and not political ones.

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