Illinois: Executive Reform and Fiscal Condition
IRENE S. RUBIN, JACK KING, STEVEN C. WAGNER, AND ELLEN M. DRAN
Illinois is a strong executive state. The power of the governor over the budget includes not only a line-item veto and a reduction veto, but also an amendatory veto. Earlier descriptions of budgeting in Illinois as primarily reflecting legislative desires to deliver benefits to constituents and lacking all central policy direction are no longer true. The governor's powers have been used not only to curtail legislative excesses and keep the budget in balance, but also to impose the governor's policies on the budget. This chapter discusses the evolution of budgeting in Illinois, to reflect the origins of the current configuration of power. It then shows the current process, emphasizing the relative power of the governor and the legislature. The chapter concludes with an evaluation of the state's fiscal condition.
Thomas Anton's well-known case study of budgeting in Illinois described in rich detail the budgetary process in Illinois for 1963. 1 His description of budgeting in the 1960s was incrementalist. The Illinois governor had an executive budget, but he had limited power over the executive branch, budgets did not deal with policy issues, and there was no public debate on the issues. Review of agency budget submissions was carried out by a Budgetary Commission. The composition of the Budgetary Commission was a legislative power elite. The motivations of the members of this commission were often geared toward delivering a share of the tangible benefits to their districts. The procedure for review of budget proposals was unlikely to produce adherence to an overall plan.
Although Anton's study of Illinois in 1963 suggests considerable stability in budgetary process, budgeting processes had changed considerably both before and after this study. Looking back to the 1800s, the Illinois constitution of 1848