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Senate Democrats Balanced Budget vs. Rauner's Rhetoric (VIDEO)

may31 presser

After shouldering the responsibility of crafting and passing a balanced budget last week, Senate Democrats expressed their frustration today that the governor and the House refused to finalize a deal to bring stability back to Illinois.

“The Senate Democrats have acted responsibly over the past five months,” State Senator Andy Manar (D – Bunker Hill) said. “We’ve passed major bills that the governor has both asked for and demanded in some cases. Along with that, we have advanced a budget to the House that lives within the governor’s spending limits that he put forward.”

The Senate Democrats’ balanced budget includes a mix of $3 billion in cuts and reductions to government spending, an increase in revenues and a host of reforms.

In addition to closing the nearly $5 billion hole in Gov. Rauner’s introduced budget, the Senate Democrats’ budget includes millions of dollars for human services and education – two vital areas that continue to suffer as the governor holds the state hostage.

“We stand very firm and proud of the fact that we did what we believed to be the right thing, which was to pass a fully funded budget which addresses things we’ve heard about for two years now,” State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said. ” The cost of chaos is something you can’t manage.”

The budget provides the highest level of investment for colleges and universities they’ve seen in two years. It also restores funding for college grant (MAP) funding that Gov. Rauner slashed and would ensure public schools can open in the fall, with $330 million in additional funding, plus $35 million for after-school programs and advanced placement classes.

A variety of human service programs eliminated by the governor would be restored, including: autism support, youth employment, Teen Reach, community youth services, immigrant services and addiction prevention services.

“It’s time for the governor to do his job,” State Senator Don Harmon (D – Oak Park) said. “We’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for the governor to do his job and all he does is campaign. It’s time to govern.”

“We now need the governor and the House to join in and get a balanced budget. We in the Senate did our jobs. We passed a balanced budget. We now need everyone to step up and do their jobs,” State Senator Heather Steans (D – Chicago) said.