Wednesday, February 15, 2017 03:28 PM
After three years of the governor failing to fulfill his constitutional obligation to introduce a balanced budget, the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus assembled for a press conference to say enough is enough. The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus is a collection of black legislators from both the House of Representatives and Senate.
"I am not sure what could be said about the governor's three years of inactivity," said Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood), chairwoman for the Joint Legislative Black Caucus. "Before he was sworn in he stated he wanted to shake things up in Springfield; in the process, he has shaken a hole in our state."
Members of the Black Caucus believe that while the governor has been sleeping on the job, many in their neighborhoods are disproportionately hurt. Social services programs, summer youth employment opportunities and other resources are disappearing. The caucus has continued to focus on social justice, equitable access to education for students, social service funding for our most vulnerable populations. The caucus fights for these causes while advocating for responsible fiscal management on behalf of state government without saddling these vulnerable populations with an undue financial burden.
“I stand disappointed today in the governor’s budget address,” said Assistant Majority Leader James F. Clayborne (D-Belleville). "He commended the Senate for taking up leadership in the budget process, yet he has failed to present his own. I can only assume that is because he doesn’t have one. Under Article VIII Section 2 of the Illinois Constitution, the governor is required to present the General Assembly with a balanced budget. He has failed in this duty. He says he is for education, but he has vetoed MAP grants and he has stood in the way of education budgets. Illinois is in trouble because of the failed leadership of this governor. He needs to do his job and present us with a budget."
Senator Toi Hutchinson, chairwoman of the Senate Revenue Committee and Senate Black Caucus, also spoke at the press conference.