CHICAGO -- Illinois legislators and Gov. Jim Edgar were told Wednesday by the state Bureau of the Budget that state revenues are failing about $329 million short of estimates made in March.
The $329 million shortfall is a combined revision including $135 million from the current fiscal year and $194 million from fiscal 1992. Deputy Budget Director George Hovanec blamed the shortfalls on lagging state sales and corporate income taxes.
The news came as the legislative leaders and the governor were preparing to work through the weekend to pass a budget for the fiscal year that begins Monday.
Mr. Hovanec said the latest figures prepared for the budget negotiations show that general funds revenues for the current fiscal year will be about $13.32 billion, $135 million less than the $13.453 billion projected last spring. And the budget bureau estimates that revenues for fiscal 1992, beginning Monday, will be about $14.1 billion, $194 million less than the $14.28 billion previously estimated.
He added that the $135 million shortfall in fiscal 1991 will mean that an equal amount of spending previously planned for this year will have to be carried over to the next fiscal year in order for the state to end the year with a $100 million general fund balance.
That carried-over spending, plus the projected $194 million revenue shorfall in fiscal 1992, means another $329 million in budget cuts would have to be made on top of $500 million the governor has already proposed to keep spending within projected revenues next year. Mr. Hovanec said. He declined to say what additional cuts might be considered or what is being discussed among budget negotiators.
"It's just a bigger problem now," said Dave Loveday, spokesman for House Minority Leader Lee Daniels, R-Elmhurst.
The decline in 1991 revenues means the state will end the fiscal year with a $1.25 billion negative unreserved general fund balance measured on a generally accepted accounting principles basis, state officials said. That figure includes about $725 million in bills incurred this year that will be paid from revenues received in the first three months of the next fiscal year.
Complicating the end-of-year bargaining session over the budget are a number of unresolved matters:
* The Illinois House and Senate each have passed markedly different tax bills. The Senate, led by Republican members, voted for legislation that would make permanent a 20% income tax surcharge set to expire Sunday. The Senate plan also contains a provision that would cap the annual growth of property tax collections for most Illinois local governments at 5% or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.
* The House, led by a strong Democratic majority, passed a bill that would extend the surcharge for only two years and did not contain any property tax relief component. The House bill also would keep intact the current distribution formula for surtax proceeds, which now are evenly divided between school districts and local governments. The Senate version would suspend the local government share of the surcharge proceeds for 18 months to begin paying off overdue bills the state owes health-care providers.
* A $987 million plan to issue bonds to expand the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago is still alive, although it was defeated in a Senate vote Wednesday after legislators loaded it up with other high-ticket public work projects. The expansion project is strongly backed by Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley, but Gov. Edgar has not yet made his position known on the plan. McCormick Place officials said they are looking for another bill on which to tack their plan and are optimistic it could be approved as long as other expensive projects are not grafted on to the bill. "It ain't over until the fat lady sings," said a spokesman for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority.
The Legislature has yet to agree on a new legislative district map required every 10 years after the U.S. Census is completed.
The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn Sunday, but Illinois lawmakers in the past have frequently ignored the June 30 deadline and worked into the first week of July to complete their business.
Rating agency officials have said they will closely analyze the final budget agreement reached between the governor and Legislature, and will look for the state to increase its yearend general funds balance. Standard & Poor's Corp. currently lists about $7 billion of the state debt on Creditwatch with negative implications.
The state's general obligation debt is rated AA-plus by Standard & Poor's and Aaa by Moody's Investors Service.