Koehler: Improved Budget Transparency Good for Illinois

State Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is speaking out in support of a legislative proposal that will greatly improve the transparency of the state budgeting process.

“Because of the condition of Illinois’ budget, more and more citizens are expressing an interest in the budgeting process,” Koehler said. “I believe that improving taxpayer input will help us pass a fair, balanced budget.”

House Bill 2240 requires the governor to publicly disclose the numbers he will use to craft his budget proposal two weeks before he gives his annual budget address. This information will be posted on a new website: www.budget.illinois.gov. During this two week period, members of the General Assembly and the general public will be able to post legislative proposals and indicate budgetary priorities.

“This new website will help keep our budget conversations honest,” Koehler said. “It will also encourage the voters to get more involved in the process. Though the budget is huge and complicated, I think being able to really see the numbers will help people understand how the budget works and how many demands there are on state resources.”

The new law will also guarantee that the governor keeps all members of the General Assembly involved in the process of crafting the state budget. During previous administrations, some members of the General Assembly had a difficult time getting answers from the governor’s office about basic budget questions. One of the goals of the legislation is to restore credibility to the budgeting process.

“Governor Quinn has shown an admirable commitment to transparency—especially during the budgeting process,” Koehler said. “I believe he would have provided the public with this information even without the requirements put forth in this bill. The law will just make it a formal requirement.”

House Bill 2240 has passed the Illinois Senate and now returns to the House for a vote to concur with senate amendments.

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