Il has option of spending more money than realized

May 28, 2013

The state of Illinois' budget has been under pressure for years, forcing lawmakers to make difficult decisions to cut spending. But as IPR’S Brian Mackey reports, they learned about an entirely different kind of problem on Monday.

Even people who closely follow state government can lose track of all the billions and millions that get tossed around during budget-making season. But lawmakers were paying attention when financial experts reported Illinois would have the option of spending $200 million more dollars than they previously realized. It's because of the "April surprise."

"April really has been a miraculous occurrence for the state in terms of fiscal opportunities."

That's Rep. John Bradley, a Democrat from Marion, talking about a one-time jump in tax collections last month. But he says it remains to be seen whether Democrats and Republicans, or just majority Democrats, will agree to spend that money.

If lawmakers are feeling conservative, they could stick with their earlier, lower estimate of how much they'll allow themselves to spend next year.