Dear valued constituent,
On Sunday, May 31st, our regularly scheduled adjournment date, Speaker Madigan announced the Illinois House of Representatives will convene session in Springfield throughout the summer until a final agreement is reached. Unfortunately, after months of working groups, hearings, and negotiations, the General Assembly and the Governor’s Office have reached an impasse on next year’s budget.
Throughout my time in office, I have fought hard for the issues important to you. I stand with you in supporting our neighborhood schools, providing critical human services to protect our most vulnerable citizens, sustaining the safety net for those most in need, preserving and strengthening hard working people’s economic opportunities, having a dependable and reliable public safety response, and working toward a fiscally responsible government which eliminates waste, fraud and abuse.
I am committed to working as long as necessary toward a budget resolution.
Governor Rauner’s introduced budget contained drastic spending reductions hurting many families in my district and across the state. His budget included cuts to autism services, breast and cervical cancer screenings, early intervention programs, child care assistance, community care program and a 50% reduction in the funding municipalities receive from the state. Additionally, he proposed a 30% cut to all state universities, including Governor’s State University, which would significantly increase tuition costs on our students and hurt surrounding communities.
Over the past several months, I heard from constituents, community leaders, elected officials and social service organizations, on the huge impact these proposed cuts would have on families in our communities. Many of my colleagues heard the same concerns and together we developed a spending plan that would protect vital services parents, children and seniors depend on.
Below are some details about the spending plan passed:
- Preserves funding for breast and cervical cancer screening,
early intervention, child care assistance, autism services and
community care program, which provides in-home care to seniors.
- Reduces Medicaid spending by 2.25% and cuts state
agencies operations budget by 4%.
- Cuts funding for state agency operations by over $130 million.
- Restores funding for job training programs.
- Increases spending for MAP grants to help an addition 15,000
students attend college.
- Cuts funding for state agencies under higher education by
- Reduces funding for state universities by 6.5%, instead of the
- Provides additional funding for the Department of Corrections
to avoid much costlier overtime pay obligations.
- Makes full payments to the state’s pension systems and to
municipal governments through the “Local Government
In response to the turmoil and uncertainty surrounding this year’s budget negotiations, I have sponsored forward-looking proposals to improve the budget making process while ensuring the long-term financial needs of Illinois are met, and will get the State on a path to fiscal stability. The days of operating this State in crisis mode must end. Below are key components of the proposal.
- Standardize the budget making process: The failure to provide for a consistent budgeting process has resulted in a continual cycle of crisis decision-making. By providing for a standard process each fiscal year, the State can move away from short-term thinking and improve openness and accountability to taxpayers.
- Limit the creation of new programs: Any new program should require a cost-benefit analysis, or an overriding public policy need before adoption. Just like a family would hold off buying a new car during a time of financial instability, the State must ensure new expenditures are necessary or would result in cost savings.
- Prioritize paying down the backlog of unpaid bills: Carrying a huge load of unpaid debt results in uncertainty and instability for the units of local government, service providers, and institutions receiving state funds. Paying off old bills will save taxpayer money by allowing entities to better manage their finances, as well as providing significant cost savings in reduced interest payments.
- Strengthen the Budget Stabilization Fund to create an effective rainy day treasury: Illinois created a rainy day fund in 2000, and set a goal of reaching a balance equal to 5% of General Revenues in 2004, but we have not even come close to reaching that goal. Both the Civic Federation and Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (CTBA) have called for the creation of a strong rainy day fund. The assets of a strong rainy day fund can cushion the blow during a fiscal crisis and avoid drastic, potentially harmful cuts to vital state programs and services.
I encourage you to continue to contact my office and share your thoughts and concerns with me.