COMPTROLLER HALTS FUNDING FOR STATE IT MODERNIZATION PROGRAM by Illinois Policy

March 15, 2017

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is suspending funding for a technology initiative Gov. Bruce Rauner has said would save taxpayer money and promote efficiency, data security and transparency in state government.

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is suspending funding for a technology initiative intended to streamline and modernize state government’s information technology infrastructure.

Mendoza is halting $27 million in funding for the computer technology initiative, known as the Enterprise Resource Program, aimed at modernizing the state’s financial reporting and human resources technology. Gov. Bruce Rauner has said the program could save costs, protect sensitive data from cyber attack, and promote efficiency and transparency. The program was announced under former Gov. Pat Quinn, but jump-started after Rauner issued an executive order in January 2016 calling for consolidation of IT services between departments.

In a letter that Mendoza’s office sent the Rauner administration, the comptroller claims suspension of the funding is warranted due to uncertainty over how the program will produce long-term savings for the state, according to Reuters. Consolidating and modernizing the state’s outdated technology systems has been a priority for Rauner, whose office said in a response to Mendoza, “Illinois is one of the few states still operating in the technological Stone Age” and upgrading state government’s technology infrastructure “will save taxpayer money.”

Quibbling over which unpaid bills to fund wouldn’t be necessary if state lawmakers passed a balanced budget with structural reforms to the way state government operates. Illinois lawmakers – who haven’t passed a balanced budget in 17 years – have focused on multibillion-dollar tax hikes with little reform as an answer to the state’s budget impasse, ignoring the structural problems and out-of-control spending that plague the state. A budget that includes a permanent property tax freeze, serious workers’ compensation reform, and an end to the state’s defined-benefit pension system could reverse Illinois’ downward fiscal trajectory.

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