A day before the governor’s budget message, members of the Illinois House and Senate Revenue Committees began to lay some groundwork through the “budgeting for results” format, which began last year.  The lawmakers, who will meet again Thursday morning to set a revenue estimate, heard two figures this morning – both around $34 billion. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability did not have an exact figure ready, but indicated it would come in slightly above that number.

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The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget presented an estimate of $33.94 billion.   Strong sales tax numbers indicate Illinoisans feel freer to spend than anybody expected. But State Rep. David Harris (R-Arlington Heights) pointed out an elephant in the room after budget director David Vaught boasted a $720 million increase in estimated revenue:


          Harris: “How much larger is our pension payment alone this year?”

          Vaught: “It’s over a $1 billion increase.”

          Harris: “The pensions are going to consumer more than what you

                   estimate to be the natural revenue growth. That poses a problem.”


The governor introduces his budget at noon Wednesday to a joint session of the legislature.


(Copyright WBGZ / www.AltonDailyNews.com )