Illinois Policy Institute: 3% Of Laws Had Fiscal Note
Only three percent of bills that became law in Illinois last year had a fiscal note attached to them, according to the Illinois Policy Institute.
Fiscal notes are like a price tag. They estimate how much a piece of legislation could cost, how much revenue it could generate, or how much savings it could create. The problem the Illinois Policy Institute has? They say about 97 percent of bills that became law in Illinois last year didn't have a fiscal note attached.
"The state of Illinois has $95 billion in unfunded pension liability, we have $9 billion in unpaid bills, we just passed a tax increase, and lawmakers are voting for bills without knowing what the cost is," Matt Paprocki from the institute said.
The institute's numbers show 16 out of 494 new laws last year had a fiscal note. That's actually up from 2011. That year, just 1.5 percent had a fiscal note.
"I think we have some bills that result in more money being spent by the state and we ought to know how much money that is," State Sen. Michael Frerichs (D-Champaign) said. "We have some bills that don't have a cost attached to them and don't need to be burdened down with extra hoops to jump through."
The institute says there have been versions of legislation that would strengthen existing fiscal note rules in the past. They received bipartisan support, but then went nowhere.
"I think this would be a great sign to taxpayers if they were to pass fiscal note legislation, mandating that fiscal notes were attached to bills, to show they are serious about balancing the budget," Paprocki said.
"I think it's good if we pass legislation that is transparent and the public knows how much it's going to cost them, and what they are going to get in return," Frerichs said.
The Illinois Policy Institute points to Minnesota for a fiscal note example. Their example breaks down how much money an education bill would impact the state and local governments. Then, they point to an education bill in Illinois which said, "The State Board of Education is unable to provide a reasonable estimate of the cost.
Story by NewsChannel20.
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