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The Majority Report 07/19/15 - Compromise, Stabilize, Protect


Homeowner relief, school reform offered as compromise

Homeowner relief, school reform offered as compromiseSenate Democrats tried to bridge the Capitol's political impasse last week with a proposal that would freeze local property taxes for two years, force the state to create a new school funding system and ensure Chicago schools remain open for the upcoming school year.

"For too long the problems of soaring property taxes and inequitable school funding have gone ignored at the Capitol. This proposal forces action and lets people know that we're serious about our priorities and resolving the problems our state faces," said Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton.

Joining Cullerton in pushing the comprehensive compromise were Senators Kimberly Lightford from Maywood, Dan Kotowski from Park Ridge and Andy Manar from Bunker Hill.

Unfortunately, the Democratic-led effort to help homeowners and reform school funding came up a few votes short of approval when no support was offered by the other side of the aisle.



Funding for now, the possibility of stability

Funding for now, the possibility of stabilityA temporary, 30-day budget to ensure key programs and state personnel are funded for the month of July was approved and sent to the governor's desk thanks to Senate Democratic votes.

Senate Democrats expressed their hope the governor will back off his previous comments that he will reject the emergency budget that funds State Police, prison guards and other public safety workers and agencies.

The Senate sought to provide additional stability for those programs by again voting to put in place a full year's budget for many of the same programs. Nearly the entire state budget was thrown into chaos when Gov. Rauner rejected it outright rather than utilize his executive powers to make adjustments. The Senate voted to override Rauner's veto of the 12-month budgets for the State Police, Department on Aging, Department of Children and Family Services and other key agencies that provide public safety or protect at-risk seniors and children.



Still standing against cuts to daycare assistance (VIDEO)

Still standing against cuts to daycare assistance (VIDEO)More than 160,000 Illinois children had access to child care services last year thanks to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), which helps working families pay for the ever-increasing cost of daycare services.

Drastic cuts instituted by the governor on July 1 have greatly reduced the number of new applicants this year to just 30,000. Families still utilizing the program will also be affected by the cuts in the form of higher co-pays for already financially stretched families.

No daycare, no job >





Forced from their homes, left without care

Forced from their homes, left without careSubstantial and detrimental changes to state-provided in-home or long-term care may be on the way under a new plan proposed by the governor. If it is enacted, nearly 40,000 seniors enrolled in the Community Care Program alone will be forced out of their homes and into nursing home facilities.

"The governor is cutting much more than hypothetical dollars from the budget with this plan," said State Senator Daniel Biss (D - Evanston), chair of the Human Services Committee, who led a hearing on in-home care on Tuesday. "He is cutting a lifeline for thousands of seniors and disabled Illinoisans who rely on state government to ensure their health and safety. If we raise the threshold for assistance, we lower our standards as a state at a time when we need to find our moral center more than ever. Taking away these services would also increase the cost to the state. This is a lose-lose situation."

Cutting a lifeline >



Deadly powders banned in Illinois

Deadly powders banned in IllinoisTwo emerging drug products are joining the long list of substances threatening public health, particularly that of young people: powdered caffeine and powdered alcohol. One has already caused deaths, the other is expected to.

Two senators' measures were signed by the governor last week to ban the sale of both. Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) sponsored legislation to make caffeine powder illegal for minors in Illinois. Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) has seen to it powdered alcohol will be banned in Illinois.

Averting dangers >




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