Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin appointed four members of the House Republican Caucus to the Legislative Budget Oversight Commission. The Commission will monitor budget management actions taken by the Governor and oversee the distribution and expenditure of federal financial relief funds for the COVID-19 pandemic. Leader Durkin appointed State Representatives Tom Demmer, Norine Hammond, Ryan Spain, and Tom Morrison to serve on the new Commission.
Deputy House Republican Leader Tom Demmer, the Republican Spokesperson for the Commission, said he was “honored to have been chosen for this bipartisan commission to provide oversight of state spending. These unprecedented times and challenges will call for extra scrutiny on the spending of taxpayer dollars, both to meet this emergency and to fund the state’s essential services. The legislature needs to be involved throughout this process.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the House Republican Caucus pushed for greater legislative input in the state’s response to COVID-19. This Commission will be given that legislative oversight to review any relief funds that are distributed to help the state recover from the current pandemic and work toward economic recovery.
Rep. Norine Hammond will also serve on the Commission and is eager for this increased oversight considering the Governor’s prior unilateral decision-making in response to COVID-19.
“Throughout this pandemic, my fellow legislators and I have called for more involvement and oversight from the General Assembly regarding COVID-19 relief efforts,” said Hammond. “As a co-equal branch of government, the General Assembly plays a critical role in the functions of state government and the budgetary process. I appreciate Leader Durkin appointing me to this Commission and I look forward to carefully monitoring the actions being taken by the Governor’s Office regarding budget management and pandemic relief efforts.”
While the Democratic majority was quick to give Governor Pritzker increased spending authority in the Fiscal Year 2021 budget, House Republicans, including State Representative Ryan Spain, questioned the spending authorization.
“With the Governor’s additional spending authority for dealing with the COVID crisis and resulting economic shutdown, it is more important than ever that legislators exercise oversight authority over state spending within the State Budget,” said Rep. Spain, one of Leader Durkin’s four appointees to the Commission. “I will continue working for due diligence to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of taxpayer dollars.”
State Representative Tom Morrison also took issue with this year’s partisan budget plan and as a member on the Commission will fight for greater responsibility in state spending and distribution of any federal funding.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a tough financial reality for the state and Illinois residents,” said Rep. Morrison. “Now is the time to bring greater responsibility and transparency to our budgeting process, starting with the distribution and expenditure of any federal financial relief funds. While I didn’t vote for the Fiscal Year 2021 budget due to its reliance on federal borrowing, I do believe this commission is necessary to provide oversight on how the Governor spends these unprecedented levels of federal financial support.”
Beginning August 15, 2020, the Governor’s office shall submit a monthly written report to the Commission reporting any budget management actions taken. The Legislative Budget Oversight Commission consists of seven members of the House of Representatives appointed by House Speaker Mike Madigan; seven members of the Senate appointed by Senate President Don Harmon; four members of the House of Representatives appointed by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin; and four members of the Senate appointed by Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady.