On Tuesday, the Illinois Senate advanced a balanced budget proposal for the first time in two years to end the fiscal crisis. State legislators release official statements for the long and overdue process of passing a viable solution to ease of the financial constraints to social service agencies, non profit programs and other public resources that have affected millions of Illinois residents. Unfortunately, the Illinois GOP party are not fully in support with these efforts.
State Senator Mattie Hunter (D- Chicago) issued the following statement after today’s votes on the budget legislation:
“We’ve been working to reach a bipartisan budget agreement for months. The plan we passed today is a solution that gives us certainty and stability.
“The governor and my colleagues across aisle have given us all false hope. They did not vote for their own ideas in the Grand Bargain, nor did they vote for their proposed budget cuts. It’s May, and time is running out.
“The package we passed will fully fund the next fiscal year which includes funds to education, MAP grants, breast and cervical cancer screening, addiction treatment and funding for programs like Teen Reach. All of these programs are essential to the lives of our citizens. They should not be excluded or cut from the budget. The programs are vital and work to restore and improve the quality of life for our constituents.
“The people of this state are suffering. How much longer will they have to wait? It’s time we focused on an actual budget that will bring fiscal certainty to our citizens.”
State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) released the following statement on the Senate passing a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 18:
“Today, Senate Democrats did what Governor Rauner and Republicans would not do – we voted to pass a balanced budget that will restore stability to our state.
“During months of bipartisan negotiations, the governor praised the Senate’s efforts while working behind the scenes to derail them. Although Leader Radogno came to the table ready to negotiate in good faith, the governor repeatedly pulled Republican votes off of the grand bargain.
“Governor Rauner touts a pro-business agenda, but his disastrous policies have nearly broken our state, hurting existing businesses and making Illinois unattractive to new ones. The business community has made their voice heard, and what they want is the stability that comes from passing a balanced budget, the state paying its bills on time and securing revenue for necessary services.
“As legislators, we have a responsibility to fix the governor’s failure. The budget passed today incorporates funding for vital human services, higher education and public schools, and it will stop our $14 billion backlog from growing further.
With the passing of a balanced budget, we can begin to repair the damage the governor has wrought and look towards long-term growth for our state.”
State Senator Jacqueline Collins made the following statement after voting for a spending plan designed to break the destructive state budget impasse and fund crucial anti-violence measures such as afterschool and early childhood development programs, Teen REACH, and funding for universities and community colleges that also includes MAP grant funding:
“I acted today to do what my constituents and all Illinoisans have demanded: To bring an end to the disorder and negligence caused by the lack of a state budget. Government’s first duty is to safeguard all of its citizens,” Collins said. “In that duty, we have been irresponsible for more than two years. Now is the time to take responsibility. With each passing day, there are those for whom it will be too late. Now is the time for the House and for Governor Rauner to come together on a budget.”
Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to the Senate’s passage of a balanced budget:
“Today, after months of Republican delays, Senate Democrats chose to restore stability and certainty to the state of Illinois by passing a full-year, balanced budget. The plan will reinstate funding for MAP grants, technical education and after-school programs and important human services that help reduce recidivism rates, treat addiction and provide youth employment—all of which will help restore stability to communities that have been most devastated by Governor Rauner’s inaction over the past two years. The people of Illinois can’t wait any longer. It’s time for the governor to put Illinois first and support this budget.”
Senator Bill Cunningham issued the following statement in response to the votes taken today:
“We have been limping along for the last two years and allowed our higher education infrastructure to be decimated. Universities and Colleges across the state need stable and certain funding to ensure they can keep doors open and provide students an excellent education for their students.
“We needed a real solution that cut spending and we cut over $3 billion in this plan. It’s a plan that is balanced and ensures that the state is starting its path out of the financial doldrums we have been in since 2015.”
Speaker Michael J. Madigan issued the following statement Tuesday regarding budget bills passed by the Senate:
“The appropriations measures passed by the Senate will be thoughtfully considered by the House Democratic Budget Working Group headed by Representative Greg Harris. Since the beginning of the session, a working group made up of Representatives Harris, Carol Ammons, Kelly Burke, Kelly Cassidy, Fred Crespo, Will Davis, Robyn Gabel, Will Guzzardi, Lisa Hernandez, Elaine Nekritz, Elgie Sims and Michael Zalewski has worked diligently on state budget issues, including passage of a Lifeline Budget. They will thoroughly review the Senate’s proposal and consider it as part of our efforts to pass a full-year balanced budget that will end the budget impasse.”
Senator Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat and president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate, issued the following statement regarding today’s Senate vote to advance a balanced budget proposal and establish desperately needed fiscal stability in Illinois:
“Gov. Rauner often brags about how he’s causing a crisis to create “opportunity.” What he’s really doing is inflicting pain every day on the good, hard-working people of Illinois who eventually have to pay for the cost of his mismanagement.
“Today, Senate Democrats passed a balanced, responsible, full-year budget that offers stability and attempts to blunt the pain of Gov. Rauner’s hostage-taking. We cut $3 billion in government spending and added no new programs – because that’s the right thing to do when asking taxpayers to kick in a little more.
“Having witnessed last week that Republicans won’t even support their own budget plan, Democrats put forth a budget that better reflects our priorities and those of our constituents, including health care for the poor, funding for public schools and universities, tax credits for the working poor and for teachers, and vital services for those who need our help the most.
“And because we also passed a series of good-government reforms – including my government purchasing reform bill, a government consolidation bill and a term limit rule for Senate leadership –this is a budget Gov. Rauner should be able to sign into law when it gets to his desk.
“I look forward to the day when we can move on to addressing other important matters facing state government and put this ugly chapter in Illinois history behind us.”
Illinois Republican Party Response
Spokesman Steven Yaffe released official statement.
“Senate Democrats’ decision to ram through multiple tax hikes outside a comprehensive jobs and reform package confirms that the entire Democratic Party’s position is to raise taxes while protecting the status quo. First Mike Madigan made clear real reform is not an option, then Democratic candidates for governor began campaigning on raising taxes without reform, and now the Senate Democrats are falling in line. The Democrats moved forward an agenda today that raises income taxes, expands the sales tax and ensures property taxes keep rising.”