Governor Rauner introduced his proposed FY16 budget on Wednesday during his budget address. This budget is $4.2 billion or 12% lower than FY15 and many agencies and programs will receive steep cuts. You can view the proposed budget here.
We are still analyzing the budget, but a few items of note on a first review:
- DNR’s budget is cut by $18 million, which is a 27% cut to their General Revenue Fund dollars or a 6.5% decrease in the entire DNR budget. The state parks remain funded at close to FY15 levels, but there are stark cuts to the Conservation Police as well as other IDNR programs.
- IEPA’s budget does not rely on General Revenue Funds and instead on fees, permit fees, and fines and remains level for FY16.
- DCEO’s Energy office seems to have been cut in its entirety. All renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, as well as funds such as the renewable energy fund that provides solar rebates, have been zeroed out. This is of high concern as this funding is not from the General Revenue Fund, but from special funds that are legislatively mandated towards efficiency and renewable work.
- The Coal Technology Development Assistance Fund also seems to have been zeroed out and the funds swept. Part of that funding will go to mine safety at IDNR, but the rest is swept to the General Revenue Fund. Theoretically, this would cut the controversial DCEO coal education program, but details on the future of these programs and others are still forthcoming.
- At first glance, important natural areas funds such as Open Space Land Acquisition and Development fund (OSLAD) and Natural Areas Acquisition Fund (NAAF) seem to remain unswept.