Success of Rauner budget director rests in Illinois’ financial condition

SPRINGFIELD — The man whose success or failure will depend on how Illinois’ financial condition fares is facing the music.
Lawmakers upset with social service cuts – including suspension of grants – totaling $26 million, made known a week after they thought they’d fixed everything, put Tim Nuding on the hot seat.
Nuding, a longtime legislative staffer, is now director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. The $26 million worth of decisions, coming halfway through the lawmakers’ Easter / Passover break, are being referred to by some as the “Good Friday Massacre.”
“When you look at the budget that passed,” Nuding told senators, pointing out the fiscal year is July through June, but the new administration took over in January, “and when you get into January with a $1.6 billion hole, as you start going through it and looking for areas that late in the fiscal year where you can still save money, the scope of programs is not as big as you would think.”
Invoking a common sentiment among unhappy Democrats, State Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) said, “If we knew that two weeks after this deal was passed that $26 million of grants were going to be suspended, I would not have voted for the bill.”
“That’s a fair statement,” Nuding responded.
And then there’s this: the 2.25 percent across-the-board budget cuts that were part of that fix means Nuding and his budget axe are not done.