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Doug Finke

Just hope there are no rainy days

Other states are building up their rainy day funds, but not Illinois

Other states are building up their rainy day funds, but not Illinois

Pew Charitable Trusts crunched some numbers on state finances and issued a report last week that contained some good and not-so-good news for Illinois.

Let’s start with the not-so-good stuff. The report found that nationwide, states are doing better with their finances and consequently building up rainy day funds to help them meet expenses the next time there’s an economic downturn.

Collectively, the 50 states increased their rainy day funds for the seventh straight year, the report said, and there’s now a record $54.7 billion in rainy day funds. That means a state could keep running for a median of 20.5 days using rainy day funds.

Well, some could. Alaska and Wyoming could operate for an entire year with their rainy day funds. Illinois? It wouldn’t even last a day.

At the same time, Illinois did a little better when it came to revenue volatility. That’s basically how much a state’s tax collections fluctuate depending on the economy. States that get a lot of revenue off natural resources, like Alaska and its oil, have the greatest revenue volatility.

Illinois was a little worse than the median, but a whole lot better than many others.

The report was based on 2017 fiscal year information, which is when Illinois was still a complete mess instead of just a partial mess. Maybe Illinois will look better in the next report.

FOR THOSE OF you scoring at home, Gov. Bruce Rauner is essentially done with acting on bills this year.

There are still two that were sent to him late waiting for his action. But for the bulk of the General Assembly’s work product this year, the verdict is in.

Let’s recap.

So far in 2018, the Legislature has passed 614 bills. That may seem like a lot, but remember, the General Assembly has to cover a lot of ground, from creating new state symbols to passing a budget.

So far this year, Rauner has signed 541 bills into law. He’s vetoed 52 bills and used his amendatory veto powers to rewrite 29 bills. That could mean lawmakers will have a busy veto session when they return to Springfield after the election.

And not to depress anyone, but the process will start all over again in January and will likely produce similar numbers.

ONE OF THE bills signed recently by Rauner brings some gender neutrality to Illinois law books.

The bill changes references to “committeeman” in state statutes to “committeeperson.” Also, the bill requires references to “chairperson” be changed to simply “chair.”

In case you were curious, the first part of that bill ran to 335 pages.

ONE OF THE bills passed this year amends the “Union of Contiguous Municipalities Division of the Illinois Municipal Code.”

Just thinking that the Union of Contiguous Municipalities sounds like a superhero group for government geeks.

Just hope there are no rainy days Doug Finke: Statehouse Insider: Hope there are rainy days in Illinoisb3a30713-d4c9-4cb2-ad1c-4beb2eb41727/image-pv_web.jpgshaw-push-component-1

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