June 25, 2015
To the Honorable Members of
The Illinois House of Representatives,
99th General Assembly:
Today I veto House Bill 4154 from the 99th
General Assembly in order to protect Illinois taxpayers from an unbalanced and
therefore unconstitutional budget.
The Speaker of the House and the President of
the Senate have admitted that the General Assembly’s budget is unbalanced. The
Governor’s Office of Management and Budget concurs, calculating that this
budget is nearly $4 billion out of balance.
For too long, the State of Illinois has made
spending promises that exceed available revenues, relied on accounting gimmicks
to make budgets appear balanced, used borrowing and cost deferral strategies to
push costs into the future, and delayed payments to vendors.
This has generated significant backlogs of
unpaid bills and a crushing debt burden of well over $100 billion. Because of
past fiscal mismanagement, Illinois is experiencing the worst fiscal crisis in
America, highlighted by Illinois being assigned the worst credit rating of any
The State of Illinois will be forced to pay
more than $6 billion in debt payments in Fiscal Year 2016 due to years of
fiscal neglect and overspending. A balanced budget is the only way to
responsibly protect taxpayers and put the State on a path to once again using
its resources for important public services rather than interest and debt
A balanced budget is not just good practice,
it is a constitutional requirement: “Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not
exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that
year.” Ill. Const. art. VIII, §
2(b). Although the General Assembly has chosen to disregard its constitutional
obligation, as Governor I cannot approve a budget that violates this
We must be partners in enacting a balanced
budget that meets critical public needs within the resources available. The
surest way to do that is by enacting structural reforms inside government and
economic reforms that stimulate our economy and bring new jobs to Illinois.
Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of Article
IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return House Bill 4154,
entitled “AN ACT making appropriations”, with the foregoing objections, vetoed
in its entirety.