(Chicago, IL) – December 16, 2011. The chair of a key Illinois House budget panel this week warned that next year’s state budget will be as “challenging” as the one lawmakers crafted earlier this year.
“Next year’s budget is going to be as much of a challenge as last year’s,” said State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), Chair of the House Human Services Appropriations Committee.
Feigenholtz noted that a $1 billion increase in the state’s pension payment now is expected for next year.
“Fiscal Year 2013 brings us an additional $1 billion pension payment that we just learned about a few weeks ago,” said Feigenholtz. “And we have to pay the pension payment first.”
In the current budget, the state is paying $4.9 billion into five separate pension systems. Next year that amount jumps to $5.9.
Additionally, the state will need to pay approximately $3.2 billion to service outstanding state debt.
The combined pension and debt payments of $9.1 billion, which will consume nearly 30% of the state’s $32.2 billion budget, will exceed the $6.8 billion estimated to be generated from the income tax increase enacted by lawmakers earlier in the year.
Feigenholtz, who cut $1.2 billion from the state human services budget proposed by Governor Pat Quinn in February, says more budget austerity is on the way.
“We will continue to do more with less in 2013 because we have no choice,” said Feigenholtz.