The General Assembly has defeated controversial proposals to change Illinois's budget accounting system and extend a property tax cap statewide, but proponents vow to try again next year.

A bill that would require the state to officially balance its budget by using only generally accepted accounting principles fell one vote short of passage during the legislature's spring session, according to State Rep. Bill Edley, D-Macomb, the bill's sponsor. The session ended July 2.

Mr. Edley blamed the bill's failure on opposition from Gov. Jim Edgar. Administration officials have contended that the switch to a real-time GAAP budgeting system would require a massive computer conversion and would not improve the state's financial condition.

But Mr. Edley said the change would make Illinois deal with its growing GAAP deficit and prohibit the state from artificially manipulating its yearend cash balance. For example, the state ended fiscal 1991 with a positive cash balance of $100 million, yet on a GAAP basis reported a negative unreserved fund balance of $1.5 billion.

Mr. Edley said he that next year he would reintroduce his bill for phasing in a GAAP system over five years.

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers plan to reintroduce their bill for extending a property tax cap to the whole state. The cap, already in effect for five suburban Chicago counties, limits annual increases in property tax collections to 5% or the rate of inflation, whichever is less, and requires voter approval of all general obligation bond issues.

Rating agency officials frown on measures, like caps, that restrict revenue-raising ability.

The extension of the caps had been blocked by the legislature's Democratic majority.

Mark Gordon, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader James Philip, R-Wood Dale, said Senate Republicans were "fairly optimistic" that next year the legislature would approve making the cap statewide.

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