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Senate Black Caucus: The ‘Bruce Rauner Experiment’ has failed

black caucus budget

Members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus gathered across from the governor's office after he delivered his fourth round of budget cuts to programs and services that severely affect the black community.

Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood), who also chairs the joint Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, delivered a clear message.

“The governor’s speech today was disingenuous,” Lightford said. “His pension cost shift offsets the investment in education he says he’s making, which would put districts who cannot afford the cost shift further away from adequate funding. That does not increase the quality of education for our children.”

Education was not the only part of his budget that took a financial hit. As his administration attempts to cram massive costs down the throats of local school districts, human services took a hit as well.

“Governor Rauner introduced a plan to devastate Illinois’ most vulnerable residents by slashing programs that are necessary to end the cycle of poverty and help low-income families succeed,” said Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D- Chicago). “His cuts to After School Matters and Teen Reach would be dangerous for young people who might otherwise be on the streets”

While the Caucus has continued working with business leaders and community stakeholders to find ways to spark
job creation, members were disheartened to find the governor didn’t mention ways to address the growing number of jobless youth in the state.

“One of my biggest frustrations is that the governor walked away from that speech without having a plan to address unemployment across the African American community," Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) said. "The people of this state cannot get their governor to layout a realistic blueprint for a budget. Today, we had more tricks and more games."                                                                        

The Senate Black Caucus will continue to lay out priorities that will make a difference for all communities across this state, but especially for those that contain the most vulnerable populations.