Illinois' network of hundreds of special funds used to plug budget holes and fund special projects is about to get smaller.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a measure last month that provides for the repeal of several of the state's hundreds of special funds. 

State Rep. David Harris (R-Arlington Heights), co-sponsor of the measure in the House, said the measure is the first in what could be many conversations regarding the state’s special funds. 

“I think this is a step forward, and I think the legislature recognizes that,” he said. “It could very well be the start of a discussion on all of those special funds, which are in the treasury, and that remains to be seen. But right now what we need to do is to get a balanced budget to start withand go from there.”

Harris said the measure is a result of the bipartisan Budgeting for Results Commission that works to determine which funds or acts could be changed or eliminated to improve the effectiveness of government. 

“This was kind of their first recommendation,” he said. It was accepted unanimously both in the House and the Senate, and I think you’ll see more recommendations of this type come forward from the Budgeting for Results Commission in the future.”

As to the hundreds of special funds, Harris said there are differing opinions as to how the funds should be handled because each has a specific intended revenue source and purpose. 

“That is a legitimate public policy discussion that ought to be held,” Davis said.
Special funds have recently been used to fund higher education, public schools and other government operations.
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