October 10, 2014

Expert to discuss state’s economic/budget issues

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Dan R. Long, executive director of the state’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, will provide an update on Illinois’ economic and budget issues next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. 

Long’s discussion is at 11:30 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 16, in the Saluki Athletics Stadium Club in Saluki Stadium. The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute is sponsoring the event, which is the part of the John White Lecture Series. Long will also discuss the state’s business climate. 

The luncheon is free but advance registration is required for meal considerations.  The registration deadline for lunch is Monday, Oct. 13.  To register, call 618/453-4004 or email rsvp@paulsimoninstitute.org. Parking will be available in the lot south of the SIU Arena. 

“Illinois is facing some real fiscal clouds,” David Yepsen, institute director, said.  Among the issues is what to do about the soon-to-expire income tax increase and unmet pension obligations. There are also questions about expanding the sales tax base, potential spending cuts to avoid tax increases, and the consequences those spending cuts bring. 

“The answers to all these issues have real ramifications for SIU and the entire region,” Yepsen said. 

Long is “one of the leading experts on Illinois state and local budgets,” Yepsen said. Long and the commission are “well-regarded for their objective advice and expertise they bring to fiscal issues in the state.” 

Studies show Southern Illinois depends on state revenues for education, social programs, road construction programs, correctional facilities and retirement plans. 

“Changes in state spending and taxation will be felt here and this is an opportunity to learn from an objective source what we might expect from Springfield in the months ahead,” Yepsen said. 

Long became executive director in February 2000. His background includes five years as the chief fiscal officer for the executive office of Gov. James R. Thompson, Jr., before serving as deputy director of operations and chair of the financial review committee for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs. He also was assistant director of the Department of Central Management Services, where he was responsible for all aspects of the agency’s daily operations. 

For more information on the program, contact the institute at 618/453-4009 or visit paulsimoninstitute.siu.edu.