With the Illinois legislative session due to end, an $8 billion dollar budget deficit still being debated and a state budget not yet on paper, it was reported last week that the state may be considering holding back $200 million from funds that should go to local governments from collection of sales taxes.

It appears they will also continue to sweep hundreds of designated funds (such as the fertilizer and pesticide funds) to pay for Medicaid and continue to delay paying the state's bills. The governor reportedly also is asking for a budget with $300 million in it that will allow him to spend the money any way he wishes.

If you are owed a state refund on your corporate income taxes from this year or previous years, don't count on getting paid any time soon. Our state is in as bleak a shape, if not worse, than it was before they raised personal and corporate incomes taxes 67 percent last January.

On a related note, SB 2010 seeking to protect fertilizer research funds from being diverted to the state's general fund has hit a road block. Despite passing the Senate unanimously, having no opposition and the support of all the ag organizations, all the environmental organizations, the IL Dept of Ag and IEPA, the bill is being held in the House Executive Committee, where House leadership sends the bills they want to control.

We are seeking to keep the bill alive and IFCA will continue to pursue this necessary change to the Illinois Fertilizer Act. Sometimes there isn't any kind of reason given as to why things happen or don't happen at our state capitol.

What will be next? We'll be watching closely for last-minute revenue enhancement attempts in the budget that would further erode the business climate in Illinois. To sum it all up, it's just a mess.