CHICAGO -- The Illinois General Assembly was poised to approve a fiscal 1993 budget Thursday after the Illinois House agreed to a compromise on the state's Medicaid funding.
Gov. Jim Edgar had proposed imposing new taxes on all hospitals and charging special fees to nursing homes in the state to help fund the $4.4 billion Medicaid budget. The governor's plan would have raised $735 million partly with a 2.9 hospital tax.
An amended Senate version of that plan, which would raise $700 million partly with a 2.5% hospital tax, passed the Senate on June 29 but failed in the House the following day.
House Republicans pushed budget deliberations two days into overtime due to their lack of support for a fee charged to private nursing homes. The lawmakers claimed the fee would be unfair to elderly patients.
Mike Lawrence, Gov. Edgar's spokesman, said House Republicans compromised by agreeing to a measure that would provide grants to private nursing homes of up to $2,000 per year.
Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, said that House Democrats were expected to go along with the compromise.
The Senate also was expected to concur with the revised Medicaid plan, according to spokesmen for Senate Republican and Democratic leadership.
The Medicaid compromise was the last stumbling block to anticipated final approval of $28 billion all-funds and $13 billion general funds budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.
The budget agreed to by lawmakers differed from Gov. Edgar's budget in several areas. Lawmakers increased revenue assumptions $90 million more than the governor's budget assumption.
The legislature also rejected some of the main components of Gov. Edgar's budget plan. Lawmakers turned down proposals to increase taxes on liquor and tobacco and to renege on last year's legislative agreement to give $237 million from a 10% temporary income tax to local governments - diverting the money instead to state coffers.
The budget agreed to by the legislature gives the governments their full 75% share of the money under the agreement, but phases in the payment of part of that money over an 18-month period instead of 12 months. An alternative plan that would have had the state issue about $150 million of general obligation bonds and turn the proceeds over to local governments for capital projects was dropped after House Speaker Madigan expressed concern that the bonding program could hurt the state's credit rating.
Lawmakers agreed to eliminate general assistance for employable adults for a savings of $76.4 million, but replace it with a substitute pilot program that would pay people to learn jobs at a cost of about $50 million. Mark Gordon, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader James Philip, R-Elmhurst, said the pilot program would probably be vetoed by Gov. Edgar.
On the bond front, the legislature's budget agreement would increase the state's GO bonding authority by $630 million, including $130 million for Gov. Edgar's five-year, statewide airport improvement plan and $289 million for refinancing outstanding GO debt.
Meanwhile, the legislature gave final approval to the following measures: * A bill that would increase the state's bonding authority for development of environmental facilities to $2.5 billion from $1.5 billion. * Legislation that would create the Illinois Recyclable Markets Developments Act and establish an authority to issue note, bonds, and guarantees on behalf of the state to develop recycling facilities.