The Majority Report 06/28/15 - One step forward, 19 steps back


Senate Democrats see hope, disappointment in governor budget moves

Earlier this week, Senate Democrats thought they had found common ground with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner when he signed into law the public education budget Democrats crafted alone. Enacting that budget should ensure that state aid payments go out as scheduled to local schools and the new school year will begin uninterrupted.
“I would like to applaud the governor for signing legislation that makes sure our schools will have increased funding for the upcoming year. I am pleased that one component of our budget is complete. I look forward to continuing this progress with other essential services, such as child care and senior services,” said state Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant from Shorewood.
Unfortunately, the very next day the governor issued 19 vetoes and rejected all other parts of the state budget. His action wipes out budgets for programs that assist senior citizens, help the disabled and aid other at-risk people and communities. His vetoes similarly eliminate budgets for student financial aid, state support for public universities and community colleges and all other state operations and services. It raises the possibility that non-profit groups that provide priority services and care on behalf of the state will have to shut down beginning July 1 because of the governor’s actions.


Minimum wage should be a living wage

Minimum wage should be a living wageLast year, Illinois voters overwhelmingly supported raising the state’s $8.25 an hour minimum wage. Efforts to do so have cleared the Illinois Senate, but otherwise stalled. To keep focus on the issue, the Senate heard testimony last week regarding raising the minimum wage to $11 an hour and Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford from Maywood has re-filed her plan as part of Senate Democrats’ Middle Class Agenda.

During the Senate hearing, Gloria Davis, a woman who works in a meat-packing house, told senators how her earnings are too low for her to afford an apartment. She has lived in shelters and takes a bus to work, sometimes missing offered shifts because the buses don’t run that early. Mark Forinash, owner of Cafe Moxo in Springfield, described how paying his workers an average wage of more than $13 an hour fosters a culture of success and investment and makes his business better. AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Tim Drea expressed the union's support for an increase, and two University of Illinois professors cited economic benefits as low-income workers with more income spend it on consumer goods.

Read more about the minimum wage hearing here.


Hutchinson reacts to Coal City tornado damage

Hutchinson reacts to Coal City tornado damageRecently, numerous homes and a fire station were damaged by a tornado that hit the village of Coal City. State Senator Toi Hutchinson from Chicago Heights extends her thoughts and prayers to those recovering from the storm.

"Although the damage in Coal City is extensive, there have miraculously been no reported fatalities and only a few minor injuries," Hutchinson said. "I am so thankful for fire department personnel, area police, first responders and the Illinois State Police who are on the ground in Coal City helping those in need."

Read more about the tornado damage and relief efforts here.



State media reporting on real effects of Rauner cuts

News outlets statewide continue to share stories on the real effects on Illinois families of drastic cuts to programs and services. Here are two of this week's reports.

Illinois Democrats urge Rauner to negotiate 'balanced' budget without steep cuts for middle class: KMWU, St. Louis Public Radio

Rauner puts new veterans home in budget crossfire: Herald-Review

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